Panthers' drive for success starts at homeSuccess at the start of the season is nice, but what matters to the St. Croix Central cross country team is where the Panthers are at the end of the season.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Success at the start of the season is nice, but what matters to the St. Croix Central cross country team is where the Panthers are at the end of the season.
Central’s boys were champions in their home invitational last Thursday and the Panther girls placed fifth among the seven teams in the meet.
The Panther boys put a stranglehold on the team title by having the first three finishers in the meet. Senior Brett Johnson and junior Stephen Brunshidle continued to be the top two Panther runners. Johnson won the meet with more than a minute cushion.
The biggest surprise for the Panthers was the emergence of junior Alex Halvorson. He took third place in the race, finishing 11 seconds behind Brunshidle.
Panther coach Bill Emery called Halvorson a “buddy runner,” someone who works best when he has a teammate he use to measure his pace.
The success of this year’s Panthers will depend how well the fourth and fifth runners can catch up to Halvorson. In Thursday’s meet Jon Mielke and Brett Briggs were the fourth and fifth runners, with Chris Halvorson and Andrew Skala running sixth and seventh. Emery said he was pleased with Mielke’s time, considering he hadn’t been able to run for more than a week.
If you are looking for a team that is improving rapidly, look no further. The Panther girls are quickly fulfilling that label. They placed fifth Thursday, but they were only 21 points behind the third place team from Prescott.
The Panthers suddenly have a formidable 1-2 tandem. Freshman Courtney Kramer looked like a veteran in placing fifth on Thursday. Senior Corynne Nelson is the captain of the Panthers and she looked it, gutting out an eighth place finish.
Emery said being a leader doesn’t come naturally to Nelson, but she has stepped up and been an excellent example for the young team.
First-year runners Hope Hoolihan, Abbie Webb and McKenzy Johnson were the third, fourth and fifth runners for the Panthers. Emery said the first-year runners, including Kramer, are already far exceeding his expectations.
Junior Jenna Gather was Central’s sixth runner. She is just starting to get healthy and will continue to make more of an impact as the season stretches on.
The Panthers compete in the WIAA Division 2 tournaments and each year their schedule reflects their need for higher level competition. They will run in two larger meets in the upcoming days. It starts with a meet at New Richmond this Thursday and ends with a meet at Rice Lake next Tuesday.
2010 St. Croix Central Cross Country Invitational
Boys Team Scores: St. Croix Central 39, Prescott 51, Boyceville 75, Osceola 89, Spring Valley 136, Somerset 145, Baldwin-Woodville 183
St. Croix Central finishes
1. Brett Johnson 17:24; 2. Stephen Brunshidle 18:35; 3. Alex Halvorson 18:48; 17. Jon Mielke 20:47; 18. Brett Briggs 20:50; 25. Chris Halvorson 21:04; 26. Andrew Skala 21:05; 40. Alex McDonald 22:13; 41. Logan Nelson 22:15; 43. Derrick Holm 22:17; 48. Shaun Feyereisen 23:11; 51. Dominique Linder 23:45; 53. Thomas Arneson 23:49; 55. Luke Hawkins 23:54; 56. Derek Payne 24:16; 58. Nathan Bringgold 24:22; 61. Tyler Johnson 24:27; 66. Dakota Coach 24:50; 77. Lucas DeGross 28:10
6. Jake Wishard 19:32; 27. Josh Verdeja 21:06; 44. Joe Germain 22:38; 46. Tyler Lindquist 22:47; 47. Emmitt Foster 22:57; 76. Zach Helgeson 27:56
Girls Team Scores: Somerset 55. Osceola 66, Prescott 87, Spring Valley 91, St. Croix Central 108, Baldwin-Woodville 138, Boyceville 160
(no times available)
3. Monica Emerson; 4. Tia Belter; 7. Sara Henry; 20. Krista Berger; 21. Shelby Peterson; 22. Grace Becher; 25. Cassie Schmidt; 26. Paige Wagner; 28. Kayla Berger; 37. Rylie Dierich; 38. Steph Kelsey; 48. Anne Plourde; 58. Sara Kosak; 62. Alyssa Iverson; 65. Torie Land
St. Croix Central finishers
5. Courtney Kramer; 8. Corynne Nelson; 18. Hope Hoolihan; 42. Abbie Webb; 44. McKenzy Johnson; 46. Jenna Ganther; 63. Hayley Ray