Osceola Invitational brings out the best in New Richmond runners
Saturday's Osceola Cross Country Invitational brought out the best in the New Richmond runners.
The Tiger girls enjoyed running the 4K distance of their race on Saturday, with many of them setting personal record times. The Tiger boys found that they can be competitive with most of the top teams in the area, even when their two lead runners are sidelined for the meet.
New Richmond's girls placed third in the meet, behind Mahtomedi, Minn., and Rice Lake. The Tigers ranked first among the seven Middle Border Conference teams in the meet, finishing three points ahead of Osceola.
Junior Maddie Kelly led the Tigers by placing ninth. Ellen Meisner rank 19th, Shelby Rolland 21st, Kennedy Kling 27th and Audrey DeKock 31st. Coach Beth Kelly said this meet showed the importance of the fifth runner. New Richmond's fifth runner was 25 places ahead of Osceola's, which was a key difference in the team scores.
Nearly all of the Tiger girls ran their personal best times on Saturday. For Meisner, she broke a personal record that had stood since she was a freshman. Rolland has been a revelation for the Tigers this season. She was a top runner for the team as a freshman, but faded in her sophomore and junior seasons. This year, she worked extensively during the summer to lift herself back up among the team's best runners.
The Tiger boys were without lead runners Alex Charbonneau and Jack Utzman for Saturday's race. The coaches held Charbonneau out to rest his foot after running much of last Tuesday's race at Rice Lake without a shoe. Utzman was sidelined with an illness.
That meant other boys needed to move up, and that's what they did. Freshman Bailey Wilson was the Tigers' top runner, placing 18th. He was two seconds ahead of senior Ben Norman, who placed 20th. Freshman Austin Haseleu placed 24th, junior Luke Miller was 28th and freshman Sam Krueger took 30th.
Coach Kelly said Norman and Charbonneau have worked hard to mentor the freshmen and the ninth graders just keep getting better, with three of the Tigers' top finishers on Saturday being freshmen.
The Spartan boys were looking to bounce back from a disappointing performance at last Tuesday's meet at Rice Lake. They answered that call, placing fifth in Saturday's meet at Osceola.
Freshman Brandon Mondor and senior Josh Verdeja supplied the Spartans with a strong 1-2 finish on Saturday. They ran together, with Mondor finishing 13th and Verdeja 14th.
The Spartans were missing one of their top five runners, sophomore Andrew Thurmes, but that didn't hold them back. With Keenan Strom placing 25th, Ethan Baillargeon 41st and Emmitt Foster 54th, the Spartans were able to put together a competitive top five runners.
Somerset coach Julie Mocadlo said Ellsworth and New Richmond finished directly ahead of the Spartans in Saturday's results, and the goal is to continue to target those teams. Ellsworth and New Richmond have been the leaders among the MBC teams in most races.
Somerset's girls placed 11th on Saturday. Grace Becher led the Spartans by placing 37th. Yosselyn Moncada and Carrie Kulibert ran together placing 55th and 57th. Kat Ryther and Maggie Becher placed 63th and 64th. Mocadlo said she was pleased with the improvement that Ryther showed in this meet.
New Richmond doesn't run again until next Tuesday, when they compete at Chippewa Falls, where the first race begins at 3 p.m.
Somerset doesn't run again until the Roy Griak Invitational at the University of Minnesota on Sept. 29. New Richmond will also be competing in that meet.