Verona senior Luka DiMaggio and sophomore teammate Aidan Manning looked as though they might finish side-by-side at the Division 1 state meet Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.
DiMaggio then turned on the jets in the final 400 meters, surging past 10 runners in the homestretch to finish 33rd out of 190 runners with a time of 16:28.9. After a promising start, Manning grinded his way to 40th place with a time of 16:36.4.
“This was really a dream come true in my last race,” DiMaggio said. “I was so happy coming down the final stretch. I knew I was capable of one last good kick to show people what I’ve got.”
DiMaggio’s time was the 19th-best among all seniors. Thirty-seven of the top 40 runners were juniors or seniors.
DiMaggio watched races on the course in preparation for his first state appearance, and his approach seemed to work as he averaged 5:55.6 per mile. He was 37th after the first mile (5:02.5) and 44th at the two-mile mark (10:33.3) before blowing past three Middleton runners and Madison La Follette’s Chris Wolfe near the finish line.
“We went out a bit fast, but I felt pretty good at the mile mark,” DiMaggio said. “At the two-mile mark, I told myself I had to go. That last mile is one where the pretenders die and the contenders push it and get a good time.”
Manning’s time was third-best among all sophomores in a race dominated by upperclassmen.
“Finishing in the top 20 was the goal, but my legs just felt dead and I got dizzy,” he said. “Those last two miles are brutal with all the hills.”
Manning averaged 6:09.6 per mile. He stayed close to the front in 15th at the mile mark (4:58.2), but dropped to 30th at the two-mile mark (10:26.8).
“I felt like I could have done better. It was a little disappointing,” he said. “But I’m glad I got the opportunity to come here.”
Middleton won the Division 1 team title with 104 points. Hortonville senior Jake Krause crossed the finish line first with a time of 15:34.2.