Even when top runners drop, Tiger girls run strong race
Even with their two oldest runners dropping out because of problems with Saturday's humid heat, the New Richmond girls cross country team was able to take second place in the Osceola Invitational Cross Country Meet.
New Richmond's boys took sixth place in Saturday's meet.
Senior Mary Balow and junior Maggie Evans both were forced to drop out of Saturday's race due to the heat. That didn't stop the Tigers from putting on a textbook exhibition of pack running.
Sophomore Morgan Kelly led the Tiger girls, placing ninth. The next seven Tiger runners ran like a swarm, as they all crossed the finish line within 14 seconds of each other. That gave the Tigers eight of the top 25 runners in Saturday's race.
Tiger coach Beth Kelly said she never knows which girls are going to come up and be among the team leaders in each race. In Saturday's race it was sophomore Bailey Matthys who moved far up in the pack to finish as New Richmond's second runner. Matthys missed the first week of practice this season but is now rapidly improving.
Coach Kelly said there are also younger runners who make big advancements in nearly every race. On Saturday it was Emily Bischof who made the surge forward, placing 32nd overall.
The Tiger boys were without Jason Staples for Saturday's meet because of a leg injury. Nick Stenske led the boys team by placing 11th. Zeb Johnson ran another strong race to place 22nd.
"Zeb hasn't been healthy for a couple seasons so it's good to see him having a strong senior year," Kelly said.
The New Richmond Middle School boys team won the championship at Osceola on Saturday and the Tiger girls took second place in their middle school race.
Rice Lake meet
Last Tuesday's huge Rice Lake Invitational didn't produce the best results of the season for the Tigers.
The girls team placed sixth and the boys team placed ninth, with more than 30 teams competing in both races.
The Tigers seemed to get caught up in the packs along this narrow course and weren't able to push their way up to run with the leaders.
Stenske was the top finisher for the boys team, placing 32nd. Kat Keller was the best finisher for the girls team, placing 44th.
Coach Kelly said she felt the best efforts of the day came from the JV girls team. Shelby Rolland took third place and Marissa Neitzke took fourth place for the Tigers, who took second to Menomonie in the JV girls meet.
This Saturday the Tigers will be running in the Roy Griak Invitational at the University of Minnesota.
This is a day-long event with college and high school races all through the day. Among the college runners expected to compete are New Richmond graduates Ayla Mitchell and McKenzie Kelly, who both run for the UW-Oshkosh women's team.