New Richmond's girls, Central's Johnson set pace at Osceola CC InvitationalSaturday’s Osceola Cross Country Invitational included several of the season standards, like strong performances from St. Croix Central’s Brett Johnson and the New Richmond girls team.
Saturday’s Osceola Cross Country Invitational included several of the season standards, like strong performances from St. Croix Central’s Brett Johnson and the New Richmond girls team.
The meet also held some surprises, which mostly came from the Osceola girls team.
Johnson ran away from the competition, like he has in most races this season, winning the boys championship by more than a minute.
New Richmond’s girls were the top finisher among the Wisconsin schools in the meet. Mahtomedi came across the St. Croix River for this meet and took home both team race championships.
The Tiger girls have a new threat to contend with if they want to repeat as Middle Border Conference champions. Osceola’s girls made a big move forward in this meet, led by freshman McKenzie Fortier, who nearly took the race title away from Prescott’s Victoria Simones.
New Richmond’s girls finished with 68 team points, three points behind Mahtomedi. Osceola’s girls made a big step up to finish in third place with 79 points.
The Tiger girls relied on their supreme depth to be the top Wisconsin team on Saturday. The Tigers had six of the first 21 girls to finish the race. They had six girls done before any other team had their fifth runner finish.
Junior Morgan Kelly led the Tigers by placing eighth. Freshman Maddie Kelly and junior Kat Keller made a move up in the pack to place 10th and 11th.
New Richmond’s boys placed 10th among the 14 teams with full rosters in Saturday’s race. The Tigers did get encouraging efforts from several runners, including seniors Jason Staples and Josh Green, who both improved their times.
One of the bigger moves up for the Tigers was made by Connor McCann, who finished as the 10th boys runner.
St. Croix Central
Johnson’s margin of victory in Saturday’s boys race was so large that he could have gone through the chute, found a bottle of water and found a place along the ropes to watch the finish of the race before the second runner crossed the finish line.
Junior Steve Brunshidle continued to show more willingness to challenge himself in this race. He went out with the pack that was battling for second place and stayed there most of the race. He ended up finishing 10th overall.
“He’ll fit in next year as a strong lead runner,” Central coach Bill Emery predicted.
Emery said both Panther teams looked a bit tired after their recent heavy race schedule. The girls team ran without senior Corynne Nelson, who is out with a bad ankle. Freshman McKenzy Johnson sprained an ankle with a half-mile left in Saturday’s race. She toughed out the rest of the race, limping noticeable.
One big improvement for the Panthers came from Jenna Ganther, who knocked more than a minute off her previous best time this season.
The Spartan girls were in the thick of the team competition Saturday, placing fourth overall. The Spartans had another strong top trio of runners, with Monica Emerson fourth, Tia Belter seventh and Sara Henry 13th in the final results.
Spartan coach Diane Belter said she was pleased with sophomore Grace Becher, who was the team’s fourth finisher and how she was able to establish her own pace in this race.
The Spartan boys were led by Jake Wishard and Josh Verdeja. Wishard took 23rd, but was seventh among the MBC runners. Verdeja made a big move up in the pack to place 50th.
“Josh was a little more gutsy in this race,” Coach Belter said.
Central will be the first of the local teams to run again, competing in the Durand Invitational on Thursday.
New Richmond, Somerset and St. Croix Central will all be competing in the Roy Griak Invitational at the University of Minnesota on Saturday. All three schools will be competing in the Maroon Division. The meet is held at the Les Bolstad Golf Course. The college races are held in the morning, with the high school races conducted in the afternoon. Each team can take 10 runners for each race in the Griak meet.