Panther boys cross country adds another title, win NRI
The St. Croix Central boys cross country team added another title to its burgeoning lists of 2009 successes when the Panthers won the New Richmond Invitational last Thursday.
The Panthers got an excellent challenge from Osceola and New Richmond, but were able to hold off both teams for the race title. Central finished with 54 points, followed by Osceola at 59 and New Richmond at 68.
The importance of the fifth runner was shown in full force in Central's victory. Senior David Butler was well back in the pack for the first half of the race. He then stepped up his pace, moving up to finish 18th overall.
"He passed about 10 guys in the last mile," said Central coach Bill Emery.
Central's Brett Johnson earned the individual boys title. Osceola's Andrew Rohlman battled Johnson every step of the way in the St. Croix Central Invitational a week earlier. In this race, Johnson pulled away near the midpoint of the race and beat Rohlman by 25 seconds.
Sophomore Stephen Brunshidle made another big step forward for the Panthers, placing third overall.
"Steve's coming out of his freshman scares and becoming a strong runner," Emery said.
Matt Smith and Alex Halvorson ran together as Central's third and fourth runners, placing 16th and 17th.
Central's girls were led by senior Abby Delander. In the strong field of runners, Delander was able to place fourth, finishing 13 seconds behind the race champion.
Anna Langer was Central's second runner, placing 19th. Martha Landry ran 36th and Corynne Nelson took 38th.
The Panther girls placed seventh among the eight teams with full squads.
Glenwood City meet
The Panthers used Saturday's meet in Glenwood City as a training meet, but the boys team was still able to win the meet title.
The Panther boys won the five-team event with 27 points. Central's girls placed third.
Emery had his lead boys stay back and work with the other runners on pacing themselves during the race. Emery told the runners they could take off at the two-mile mark and finish as hard as they could. Johnson managed to work his way back to first place, winning by 23 seconds.
Smith placed fourth, Brunshidle sixth, Halvorson seventh and Butler ninth.
There was concern following the race because Brunshidle hurt his knee along the rough course.
The Panther girls were without Delander for Saturday's meet. Langer led the Panthers by placing 10th. Nelson moved up to place 13th and Landry was 15th.
The next race for the Panthers comes on Saturday when they run in the Osceola Invitational. The middle school races on Saturday are at 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. with the varsity races at 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.