Improvement on an individual and team basis is the goal for the New Richmond cross country teams when they run in the WIAA Division 1 sectional meet each year.
The Tigers put together outstanding races, including several career bests, but they still finished in the second half of the pack at the Division 1 Sectional Meet in Menomonie on Saturday.
New Richmond's girls placed ninth among the 12 teams in the Division 1 meet while the Tiger boys placed 10th in their half of the meet.
Leading the effort for the Tigers on Saturday were seniors Alex Charbonneau and Ellen Meisner. They have been members of the Tiger varsity lineup throughout their high school careers, but both still managed to run career-best times in the meet on Saturday. Charbonneau was the top finisher among the Tiger boys, placing 21st overall with a time of 17:07.
Meisner made a big move up in the pack to finish as the second Tiger girl. She placed 29th overall with a time of 16:26. Meisner and junior Maddie Kelly, who placed 23rd in 16:14, gave the Tigers a competitive 1-2 grouping in the race.
New Richmond coach Beth Kelly said another highlight was the performance of the top four Tiger boys, who all finished the race in under 18 minutes. With three of them, sophomore Jack Utzman and freshmen Bailey Wilson and Austin Haseleu, still learning the ropes, the Tigers have one of the stronger groups of young runners in the sectional. With three sophomores and two freshmen competing, the Tiger boys had the youngest lineup in their half of the sectional field. Charbonneau and Ben Norman were the only seniors in the Tiger boys lineup.
Coach Kelly said she thought the Tiger girls started the race "a little too conservatively," but they came around to put together good races. The Tigers had three seniors in the lineup on Saturday, Meisner, Shelby Rolland and Ari Ziemer.
Division 1 Sectional
Cross Country Meet
Boys team scores: La Crosse Logan 46, Eau Claire Memorial 63, River Falls 111, Onalaska 117, Hudson 122, La Crosse Central 195, Superior 206, Eau Claire North 220, Holmen 221, New Richmond 226, Chippewa Falls 280, Menomonie 295
New Richmond finishes
21. Alex Charbonneau 17:07; 38. Jack Utzman 17:34; 49. Bailey Wilson 17:56; 52. Austin Haseleu 17:59; 66. Ben Norman 18:42; 67. Erik Gilkison 18:43; 72. Zach Schoepke 18:57
Girls team scores: Eau Claire Memorial 49, Hudson 79, Superior 123, La Crosse Central 133, Onalaska 134, River Falls 149, La Crosse Logan 159, Holmen 169, New Richmond 232, Menomonie 251, Eau Claire North 267, Chippewa Falls 338
New Richmond finishes
23. Maddie Kelly 16:14; 29. Ellen Meisner 16:26; 53. Shelby Rolland 17:08; 62. Meghan Watkins 17:27; 65. Ari Ziemer 17:35; 68. Harley Leavens 17:47; 83. Kennedy Kling 19:38