Hudson Invite sees plenty of pack running
Plenty of pack running, especially by the boys teams, was done by New Richmond and Somerset runners during the 2003 Hudson Cross Country Invitational last Tuesday.
The position of those packs is what the coaches are looking at. The Tiger boys' pack was in good position, leaving the Tigers in fourth among 10 teams in the meet. The Spartan pack never really moved up in the crowd of runners, leaving Somerset in eighth among the boys teams.
New Richmond had their second through fifth runners cross the finish line in a 12-second cluster. This was promising for coach Brent Aukema, who has been encouraging Zach Wolff and Brian Wojan to move up to run with seniors Erik Anderson and Mike Tarman.
Aukema said he wants to see how much more the pack of runners can continue to move up toward lead runner Alec Slocum, who placed ninth in the meet.
"We're looking at what we can accomplish these last few weeks and how much more we can grow," Aukema said.
This wasn't one of the better meets for the Spartans boys. They started slowly and struggled to make progress.
"That pack's got to move way up," said Somerset coach Diane Belter. "They are playing it safe. I think they are a little afraid to hurt."
New Richmond and Somerset put together good efforts to place third and fourth.
New Richmond was running without Hannah Zimmerman, who has been the fourth runner for much of the season. That meant Rachael Olson and Ericka Leahy needed to move up and they both answered the challenge.
"You could tell Ericka knew she'd be a scoring runner," Aukema said. "She wasn't backing down, she ran such a strong mental race."
Add their performances to the efforts of Ayla Mitchell, Natalie Johnson and Hannah Demulling and you get a strong third place finish. Mitchell was the girls meet champion, with Johnson placing 12th and Demulling 13th.
Somerset again led the senior duo of Whitney Langer and Emily Witzmann who placed fourth and sixth. Belter said she saw improvement from several runners, including Beth Baillargeon and Britany Haukom. Another strong effort came in the JV race, where Chealsey Sword finished eighth after missing several meets with shin problems. Her performance in that meet will move her up to the Spartan varsity lineup.
2003 Hudson Cross Country Invitational
Girls Team Scores: Amery 52, Rice Lake 57, New Richmond 82, Somerset 105, Menomonie 131, Hudson 145, Hastings 152, North Branch 178, Chisago Lakes and Minneapolis Southwest incomplete teams
New Richmond finishers
1. Ayla Mitchell 15:50; 12. Natalie Johnson 17:04; 13. Hannah Demulling 17:16; 23. Rachael Olson 17:40; 36. Ericka Leahy 18:13; 54. Liz Scheder 19:09
4. Whitney Langer 16:16; 6. Emily Witzmann 16:19; 20. Britany Haukom 17:38; 37. Christi Schmitt 18:15; 45. Katie Rivard 18:40; 50. Beth Baillargeon 18:49; 55. Amanda Plourde 19:27
Boys Team Scores: Minneapolis Southwest 50, Hudson 79, Chisago Lakes 97, New Richmond 102, Amery 137, North Branch 139, Hastings 151, Somerset 182, Menomonie 193, Rice Lake 207
New Richmond finishers
9. Alec Slocum 17:53; 21. Erik Anderson 18:33; 23. Zach Wolff 18:35; 24. Mike Tarman 18:44; 25. Brian Wojan 18:45; 57. Jeremy Hseuh 20:08; 65. Chris Parker 20:57
18. Jon Reyer 18:20; 38. David Baillargeon 19:28; 40. John Mitchell 19:29; 42. Tim Wenzel 19:32; 44. Tyler LeRoy 19:36; 48. Matt Hanzlik 19:43; 53. Josh Hecht 19:56