Panther boys are meet champions
The talent level on the St. Croix Central cross country teams might have come as a surprise to anyone attending the New Richmond Invitational last Thursday, but it's not a surprise any longer.
The Panthers grabbed the attention of the local running community by winning the boys championship in the 2008 New Richmond Invitational. This is the first time the Panthers have won a championship in the New Richmond meet.
Central's girls also performed solidly, finishing sixth in the team competition.
Central's boys were led by sophomore Brett Johnson, who placed second in the meet with a time of 17:56. A minute later senior Derrek Pedersen crossed the finish line, placing eighth overall.
The Panther boys seem to have the depth in their lineup improving on an almost daily basis. That showed through the efforts of Stephen Brunshidle and Ryan Hansen. They ran together, steadily moving up through the pack, to place 14th and 15th.
The depth continued with Alex Halvorson putting in a strong step forward, finishing 37th as the Panthers' fifth runner.
In a meet where the Panthers were running against all the Middle Border Conference schools, plus a handful of Big Rivers Conference teams, they showed they can compete against teams from any level.
Central's girls were also in the thick of a strong field of runners. The lead pack of the girls race had a number of girls with state meet experience and Central's lead runners were right with that pack. Michelle Brunshidle led the Panthers by finishing ninth in 17:12. Abby Delander was just behind her, taking 11th. Anna Langer continues to establish herself as a top quality third runner, placing 17th.
Martha Landry placed 32nd and Corynne Nelson 42nd to give the Panthers a strong performance from their top five runners.
The Panthers will be racing against most of these same opponents this Saturday, when they compete in the Osceola Invitational.