The Tradition Continues

Boys cross country continues to set the pace


The Mirror reporter

The Stevens Point Area Senior High (SPASH) boys cross country team is having a fantastic year and is ranked among the top teams in the state.

Recently the annual SPASH Invite was held at Standing Rocks County Park and the boys came out victorious. The last time SPASH lost their home meet was in 2003.

The boys are currently ranked fifth in the state behind other cross country powerhouses. However, with their top-notch determination and fantastic work ethic, they’re hoping to bring SPASH another gold trophy this October.

“I’m not sure where we rank in the state but we’ve had some very good work-outs and we’re looking forward to our next meet,” said head coach Donn Behnke.

Top SPASH runners are Ricky Perez, Derek Franz, Liam Belson, Johnny Hyland and several others. These four members are the fastest runners on the team and some of the fastest runners in the state.

Varsity member Mason Meixner said, “We have a good team this year. As a team we have a strong work-ethic and we’re tough.”

Not only is the varsity team winning races but the junior varsity and junior high teams are also running very well. Both teams are undefeated and it’s looking like it’ll be hard for any team to beat them.

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity of seeing how we match up with other state-championship contending teams later in the season,” senior varsity member Mark Stoskopf said. Stoskopf is also one of the three captains on the team.

SPASH boys cross country has a very rich tradition with its success. Behnke is ranked among the best cross country coaches in the state if not the country.

In the 38 years Behnke has been coach he has won 38 conference titles, 10 state titles, and seven state runner-up. He coached multiple individual state champs and only missed the state meet twice.

In 2001, Behnke was also named the national cross country coach of the year. He truly is living out greatness.

Recently, Behnke wrote a book called The Animal Keepers on his successful 1985 championship team which included a member who had special needs. In his book, Behnke explains some of the reason why he has had so much success and the art of building a team.

One thing’s certain this cross country season, the boys will once again continue their dynasty and live out their motto “The Tradition Continues.”