2010 Preview: Tiger CC girls aim for another conference title
Bad news for the other cross country teams in the Middle Border Conference. The defending MBC girls champions from New Richmond return even stronger in 2010.
The Tigers bring back all seven runners who were part of winning the conference championship in 2009, plus several other runners who were threats to make the varsity last season. Add in three freshmen who are all solid threats to push into the varsity seven and the team is even stronger this season.
Last year the Tigers won the conference meet with Morgan Kelly, Kat Keller and Bailey Matthys as sophomores and Ellen Meisner, Anne Frank, Marissa Neitzke and Shelby Rolland as freshmen. The Tigers scored 40 points to win the conference title.
This year the Tigers add freshmen Maddie Riemenschneider, Audrey DeKock and Maddie Kelly to make the team even more potent. All three could work their way into the varsity lineup for any meet.
Tiger coach Beth Kelly said the girls have set a goal to repeat as conference champions. "That's a realistic expectation," Kelly said.
While it is realistic to think the Tigers can repeat as conference champions, it won't be easy. The top 14 individuals in last year's conference meet all return, so the conference is deep in talent. Amery scored 70 points in last year's meet, Ellsworth tallied 86 points and Somerset scored 108 points, so they all have aspirations of taking the conference title away from the Tigers.
While the Tiger girls stood supreme in the Middle Border Conference, they were met with frustration when they advanced into the WIAA Division 1 competition. This section has incredible depth, leaving the Tigers in the middle of the pack at the sectional meet last fall. Coach Kelly said a goal for the team is to move up a couple places at the sectional meet this year.
"I can't believe how different it is from Division 2 sectionals to Division 1," said Kelly.
While the Tiger girls will be in a battle for the conference title this season, the Tiger boys will be working to crack the upper half in the MBC final results this season. The numbers are down slightly for the boys team this season. With strong teams coming back from Amery, Osceola, Ellsworth and Durand, the Tiger boys have a logjam of talented teams ahead of them.
Coach Kelly said senior Dylan Novitzke-Christensen has done an excellent job of taking on the leadership role for the boys team.
With Novitzke, Walter DeKock, Jason Staples and Casey Schuh the Tigers have four boys who have solidly taken places in the varsity lineup. There is good competition for the other place in the top five, with Charlie Kleiner, Luke Miller and Alec Knox all making progress.
Coach Kelly said she is pleased with the approach the boys and girls are taking to the season. She said the veteran runners are stepping up as leaders and the rest of the team is buying into the efforts the captains are making to better the team.