Young prep harriers squads try to stick together this season

Tri-County Area Prep Cross Country Review and Preview

Given the dearth of experienced prep cross country runners in the Tri-County Area this fall, just having a group of runners, even a team of them, for the four programs is good enough in hope they can stick together and get better and get more athletes out for the sports in the years ahead.

Thus, just as important as the high school race of the Brone Invitational held last week Thursday, Aug. 31 at Cochrane-Fountain City, was the middle school competition to build future runners and future running teams.

For now, local teams will just have to stick together, avoid injuries and just get faster as the season goes. That's why Augusta, which finished eighth out the 13 teams competing in both boys and girls competition, was just happy to have enough runners to compete as a team.

"We have a team and from that, even though we don't have a lot of experienced runners, we can work hard together to improve and better team at the end of the season," Beavers head coach Zach Lee said.

Augusta's runners at the meet include their top boys' runner junior Preston Schafer, finishing 23rd in 20:53 followed by Damian Fuentes a freshman who placed 39th in 22:30.9, Damien Sovereign, a junior who finished 40th in 22:33, freshman Aavon Williams who finished 58th at 24:41, freshman Kaden Rodriguez, who finished 67th in 26:02 and; sophomore Garrett Larson, who placed 67th in 28:18. In the girls' race, AHS was led by freshman Sophia Wanke, 38th in 26:04 followed by senior Cecila Hanson, 41st in 26:22; junior Roella Weiss, 51st in 27:04; junior Jerri Mackey was 59th in 29:07; sophomore Sam Hanson placed 70th in 29:26, senior Abby Boone finished 66th in 31:02 and fellow senior Sam Truong was 67th in 31:08.

Bangor swept the Brone Invite, winning the team titles for both boys and girls. One interesting feature of the girls' race was the number of Dairyland Conference runners that finished in the top 10, which was four and five in the top 15. C-FC took third in the team standings led by race winner Addy Duellman and her 19:33 time and right behind them were Melrose-Mindoro and Independence/Gilmanton, indicating the top teams in the conference this season (Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran, Whitehall and Blair-Taylor would be the same for the boys). Mel-Min senior Claire Becker placed third in 20:15 and Indy/Gilmanton sophomore Taylor Sylla was fourth in 21:13.

Eleva-Strum senior Anabel Howie, arguably the most experienced and best runner in the Tri-County Area, finished 10th in the race in a time of 23:24 and hopes this meet is good way to start would could be a great season against tough competition.

"I've competed against many of those girls not just in cross country but in other sports as well," Howie said. "I'm sure I'll compete against them in other meets and they'll really push me to get better and run faster and hopefully that will lead to a good season."

Also having a good race for Central was sophomore Amalia Dyar who finished in 25th in 24:57 while the Cardinals' top boys' runner was freshman Russell Hulett, who finished 17th in 20:30 in his very first varsity race. Other competitors for E-S in the Brone Invite were sophomore Alex Awe, 66th in 25:56 and freshman Jillian Awe who finished 70th in 31:57 in the girls' race.

Osseo-Fairchild competed in the Brone meet as well. They had one girls runner in the high school race (several in the middle school race), sophomore Alyssa Burmesch who finished 55th in a time of 28:17. The boys' team had four runners, one short of a full team which the Thunder hope to eventually get to by the time of the Cloverbelt Conference meet. Senior Mason Scheffer had O-F's best time and place finishing 35th in 22:12 followed by junior Nolan Olson, 64th in 25:22, Jonas Sackman-Van Hoof, 65th in 25:24 and freshman Casey Bauer, 83rd in 35:04. Burmesch, Scheffer, and Sackman-Van Hoof all ran in last year's Cloverbetl Conference meet.

O-F finished ninth as a team in the Cloverbelt Conference boys' race last season (incomplete in girls) and graduated Aubrey Schmidt, Kyle Burmesch and Bryce Armstrong-Baglien. Fall Creek placed third in the Cloverbelt girls' race and fourth in the boys and saw several athletes graduate including Tyler Kleinhans, Stewart Gundry, Jenna Anders, Megan Johnston, FC began its season last week Tuesday, Aug. 29 in the Loyal/Greenwood Invitational. The Crickets placed third behind Colby and defending Cloverbelt champ Eau Claire Regis in the girls' race. Running for FC on varsity were freshman Audrey Koehler, sixth in 23:06; senior Evelyn Bergeron, 13th in 23:51; junior Larissa Johnson, 27th in 25:57; freshman Kamryn Dahlberg, 28th in 26:06; senior Rebecca Krenz, 34th in 26:04; junior Cora Peterson, 35th in 26:42; sophomore Paige Aldrich, 42nd in 28:12; freshman Reese Asmussen, 47th in 28:36; senior Sophia Schultz, 48th in 28:36; sophomore Ellie Coach, 65th in 31:35 and junior Kendall Asmussen, 72nd in 32:28. Bergeon, Peterson, Aldrich and Schultz all ran in last year's Cloverbelt meet.

Fall Creek boys placed seventh in their race at Loyal as Chippewa Falls McDonell easily took first place with 50 points with Colby/Abbotsford next with 96 points and Marshfield Columbus third at 103 points. Running for FC were junior Joel Stump, their top finisher in 30th place with a time of 21:31. He was followed by a trio of Fall Creek runners finishing together in a pack as sophomore Marcus Kleinhans placed 33rd in 21:53; sophomore Kaden Prock placed 34th in 22:01 and sophomore Marcus Coleman was 35th in 22:02. Junior Jamison Carey placed 40th in 22:12; sophomore Shane Moore finished 60th in 25:44. Stump, Kleinhans, Carey, Moore and Coleman all ran in the Cloverbelt meet last season.

Fall Creek is hosting their own invite meet this Saturday, Sept. 9 beginning at 10 a.m. with Augusta and Osseo-Fairchild. Augusta is also competing in the Stanley-Boyd Invitational this Thursday, Sept. 7. Eleva-Strum is competing in the G-E-T Invite this Thursday too. Next Tuesday Augusta is involed with the Neillsville Invitational.


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