Senior Bridger Flory an Rhinelander High School cross country team's top runner finished in 36th place out of a field of 152 runners on Saturday at the WIAA Division 2 State Cross Country meet. On the tough and hilly course, Flory had an impressive final high school cross country run clocking in at 17 minutes, 11.8 seconds at the Ridges in Wisconsin Rapids.
It also was only 7.62 seconds of Flory’s personal best time that he set the previous Saturday at sectionals at Freedom. The sectional course also proved to be a faster and flatter course. Flory was looking to crack a top-50 finish and Coach MJ Laggis and Melissa Krueger also had high expectations for the senior. Flory did not disappoint and used a strong start and late push at the end to earn 36th.
Throughout his high school cross country career, Flory battled illness and injury early but final got his shot at competing at state. In his freshman season, Flory finished 12th a the Great Northern Conference meet and charted 15th at sectionals and was about 20 seconds away from qualifying. And his junior season he missed a majority of the year due to an injury, but would make the most out of his senior season.
In the 5k course, Flory had a quick start and ran his first mile in 5:08 and would stick with a large group in the front the pack. It was also his highest placement where he ran in 27th. In the second mile Flory fell back to 40th at the second mile mark at 5:51.
Flory would stay right around 40th from there and had final push in the final half-mile of the race and picked up several positions and would run his final mile at 6:15 and averaged a 5.33 mile pace in the race.
Following the race Flory was greeted by his parents Joel and Susanne Flory as well coaches Laggis and Krueger. The congratulation was much deserved as they embraced the moment and reflected on his accomplishments.