Tia Belter wins MBC girls cross country title
Sophomore Tia Belter put on a late charge to push her way to the girls championship in the 2009 Middle Border Conference Cross Country Meet, run last Thursday at Prescott High School.
The Spartan girls had hoped to pull off an upset and win the girls team title at the conference meet too. But with two of their varsity runners out sick and at least one more running ill, the Spartans fell back to fourth place in the final team standings.
Belter and junior Monica Emerson were among a pack of runners at the front of the girls race. They were at the back of the lead pack after the first mile, before working together to gradually move up in the pack.
Belter moved up to second place, then waited for the final 100 meters to pass Amery's Natalie Haugerud to win the race.
"Tia ran a beautiful race," said her coach and mom, Diane Belter. "She is so patient and ran a really smart race."
Emerson wasn't able to come up with a big kick at the end of this race and she ended up taking sixth place. She was the first number two runner to finish the race.
The Spartans were without sophomores Sara Henry and Steph Kelsey for this race, which eliminated any possibility of the team overtaking meet champion New Richmond.
Senior Anne Sullivan, just back from dealing with the bug that is sweeping through the Somerset schools, was the Spartans' third runner. She finished 42nd overall. Spartan freshman Grace Becher, who labored to breathe during the meet because of illness, was 43rd.
Sophomore Riley Dierich moved up 55th as the Spartans' fifth runner. Senior Ibby Ottman ran one of her best times to place 62nd overall.
The Somerset boys were able to take seventh place in the conference meet, with most of the Spartans finishing with personal best times. Dakota Belter led the Spartans by placing 24th. Joe Germain and Gavin Germain ran their best races of the season, placing 36th and 40th.
Jake Wishard, usually the Spartans' second runner, finished 50th. Wishard was sick all week. He showed up for practice each day, with Coach Belter sending him home each day.
"He basically ran the race with no practice for the whole week," Coach Belter said.
Sectionals on Friday
The Spartans will be running in the Amery Division 2 cross country sectional meet on Friday. The girls race begins at 4 p.m., with the boys starting at 4:45 p.m.
Coach Belter said the Spartan girls are one of several teams with a shot to qualify for the state cross country meet. The top two teams from the sectional meet qualify for state. She said Northwestern appears to be a lock for first place, then includes the Spartans along with Rice Lake, Amery and Hayward as the leading contenders for the second state berth.
Emerson is the only Spartan with state cross country experience, after qualifying for the state meet as an individual last season. The first five individuals who are not part of the two state-qualifying teams earn their way to state as individuals.