New Richmond track teams advancing, one meet at a time
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At this point in the season, the New Richmond track coaches aren't watching what their opponents are doing.
They're concentrating on the Tiger athletes, looking for anything they can to hasten the Tigers' improvement.
The Tigers competed in their first official meets last week. They ran in a quad meet at the Knowles Center indoor facility at UW-River Falls last Tuesday. The Tigers were back at Knowles Center on Saturday, but this time the competition was amped up many times over. The Tigers competed in the annual All-American Invite, which brings in many top teams from Minnesota to compete with the best western Wisconsin has to offer.Points-wise, the Tigers didn't fare that well in the 18-team meet on Saturday. That wasn't the team's overriding goal. Getting better was the team's goal, heading into a 12-day stretch without a meet, when the Tigers will have plenty of time to practice.“Now we know where they're at. We can be more specific with their training,” Tiger girls coach Judy Weiss said about the upcoming practices. Part of the reason the Tigers compete in this meet every year is to see the ultra-high level of athletes who are brought into this meet. “I thought the kids performed very well,” said Tigers coach Roger Reuvers. “Some of them were disappointed, which I like to see, because they are showing that they want to be better.”The group that probably performed the best for the Tigers in Saturday's meet was the distance runners. Bailey Wilson had a tremendous week, topped by his fourth place finish in the 800 meters on Saturday.“Bailey is a good looking runner,” Reuvers said. “He's got a bright future here.”Wilson wasn't alone. Brennan Roby again showed his highly competitive nature, placing fifth in the 3,200 meters in 10:35.The distance boys also put together a sixth place finish in the 3,200 meter relay.Senior Maddie Kelly took eighth place in the girls' 800 meters. Weiss has no worries about Kelly.“I think she could run with them at the end of the season. She didn't have the steam yet, but she'll get there.”The girls also placed in the 3,200 meter relay, taking seventh.The only Tiger to place in a field event was Zach Schoepke, who cleared 5-10 in the high jump to place fifth.There were other Tigers who showed improvement in the field events. Gabe Van Beek and Ben Peterson, both juniors, are making nice progress in the shot put. Sammy Struss had a career-best leap for the girls in the triple jump.Quad meetThe first official meet of the season for the Tigers was held last Tuesday at the Knowles Center. The previous Thursday the Tigers held a scrimmage at the indoor facility, which helped get the Tigers comfortable in their events on Tuesday.Both Tiger squads had a number of bright spots in this meet. The girls team quickly showed it should be able to score points in most events this season. That began with Peyton Olien's win in the 200 meters, through the middle distances, where Kennedy Kling and Maddie Kelly earned wins, and into the field events where Abby Blader scored a pair of wins in the jumping events.The Tigers also got a win from Sarena Shilts in the 55-meter hurdles and they took the top spot in the 800 relay.While those wins came from familiar faces, strong performances from new girls show the team could have strong depth this season. Girls like Kanya Dwire, Marissa Harden, Mallory Kelly, Hanna Weinzerl, Robyn D'Amico and Emma Wothe, among others, showed the athletic ability to be contributors for the girls team this season.The New Richmond boys aren't quite as far along in their progress. They have the incredibly deep group of distance runners, led by Wilson, Roby and Jack Utzman. The rest of the team has athletes like Dominic Ficociello and Cole Nord who are pushing to show they can compete with the top track athletes in the Middle Border Conference.The next competition for the Tigers arrives on Thursday, April 10, when they again run at Knowles Center.