In cross country, competitors have no scoreboard to look at. Passing an opponent or getting passed can be huge and you don't know until you have finished the race.

Pierce Arenz knew that and his last ditch effort got him a return trip to the WIAA State Cross Country Championships.

The Kiel sophomore was the final of five individual qualifiers to make state following action Saturday in the WIAA Division 2 Sectional at Kiel High School. The top two teams and first five individuals from non-qualifying teams earn berths at state next Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids.

Arenz was in a battle with Sheboygan Falls' Logan Murphy as they approached the finish line. Unbeknownst to both them, their battle would be for the final state berth. Arenz came in at 17:02.1, just three-tenths of a second ahead of Murphy.

The Raider runner was part of the Kiel team that finished second at state in Division 2 a year ago at Colby.

The 2021 State Championships returns to its normal home at The Ridges Golf Club near Wisconsin Rapids.

Joining Arenz from the girls team will be Jocelyn Aprill and Lilly Watson. They were the final two individual qualifiers, just not in dramatic fashion as Arenz. Aprill, a state qualifier a year ago, was timed at 20:41.7 and Watson, just a freshman, was clocked at 20:43.1.

For more on sectional cross country, read next week's Tri-County News.

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