Competitive fire drives Somerset girl runnersAfter getting a taste of winning, the Somerset girls cross country team wants to get a steady diet of success.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
After getting a taste of winning, the Somerset girls cross country team wants to get a steady diet of success.
In their first standard meet of the season, Somerset’s girls topped six other teams to win the championship in the St. Croix Central Invitational last Thursday. The Spartan boys also showed significant improvement in their sixth place finish.
Somerset’s girls put three runners in the top seven finishers in Thursday’s meet. Senior Monica Emerson placed third and junior Tia Belter was fourth. A huge surprise for the Spartans was junior Sara Henry, who moved up to place seventh in the race.
Spartan coach Diane Belter said Henry appears to have found her competitive side. Belter suggested that Henry’s chance to compete at the WIAA state track meet last spring has helped her learn to handle the pressure of competing.
“She seems so much more relaxed,” Coach Belter said.
Tightening the gap between the two lead runners and Henry was one of the goals for the teams this season. With good progress made there, the next goal is to get the gap narrowed between Henry and the rest of the Spartan varsity runners. Coach Belter said she thinks that will happen.
After the lead trio, the Spartans have six runners who all finished among the top 28 girls in the meet. Krista Berger finished 20th, followed immediately by Shelby Peterson and Grace Becher. Close behind were Cassie Schmidt, Paige Wagner and Kayla Berger.
Coach Belter said some of these girls are still learning how to throttle back their energy in the first half of the race, but she can’t complain about their eagerness.
“I like that they aren’t afraid to go out hard because it shows guts,” Belter said.
The competitive edge carried by the girls seems to be filtering over to the boys team. Somerset’s Jake Wishard looks to be a much more focused, mature runner this season, based upon his sixth place finish on Thursday.
“I haven’t seen Jake that focused in a long time,” Coach Belter said.
Josh Verdeja was Somerset’s second runner, followed by Joe Germain, Tyler Lindquist and Emmitt Foster. While each of these runners showed improvement, Coach Belter said Verdeja, Germain and Lindquist are just learning to tap into their energy reserves and are capable of cutting much more time from their current marks.
The Spartans will face two substantial tests in their upcoming races. They will run at New Richmond on Thursday. They’ll be part of an even bigger pack next Tuesday, running in the Rice Lake Invitational.