On a cold, snowy start to the event, Whitewater Whippet sophomore Gio Anello, competing at state for the first time, absolutely crushed his race. Gio was able to do what runners dream of: run their best race on the biggest stages. The Ridges Golf Course gets progressively harder as you go with the first mile relatively easy, the second mile has rolling hills and the third mile is tough. It has a way of eating runners up. Today it would not claim Gio as one of its victims. Gio survived the WIAA Sectional last Saturday as the last individual qualifier, today he thrived at State as he was the second-best runner from our sectional after finishing 10th one week earlier. Feeling strong from the start Gio positioned himself in 50th place at the mile mark. From this point on Gio was totally locked in and his grittiness showed its true colors. Throughout the next mile he passed 20 runners to close in on the top 30. In the final 1.1 miles, he slayed his way to an absolutely stellar 25th place finish in the Division 2 field with a new lifetime best of 17:00.8 in a Whippet uniform. Gio has a lot to celebrate after earning his first, 1st team all RVC award a few weeks earlier and not only his first trip to state, but a great one at that. He finished as the second-best conference finisher in the field. A memorable day for sure!