LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - 2011 saw an incredible finish for the Aquinas track teams. The Blugolds took some of the state's top team and individual honors at Harring Stadium, including a team title, a team runner-up and multiple individual wins in Division 2.
That's a pretty potent resume for a varsity team returning all of its top runners. Some Aquinas runners, however, faced a great deal of adversity before the 2012 season even started.
Both junior Michael Christianson, who battled Encephalitis--a disease causing inflammation of the brain--last fall, and senior Maddie Haupert, recovering from a dislocated elbow, had their hurdles. Despite all of that, the Blugolds aren't worried about their chances to repeat.
"Adversity is part of the season," said Aquinas Distance Coach Geoffrey Wilhelmy. "If anything, it tends to make them tougher. I mean, Maddie particularly. Despite the dislocated elbow, she was training within a week."
Christianson added, "[The illness] was rough during cross-country, but I think I'm fine now. Over the winter it seemed just fine. I have some great teammates--always supporting. I wouldn't be here without them."
Aquinas continues its run for the state meet on Monday at the West Salem Invitational.
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