Central's Johnson places fifth at Griak InvitationalSt. Croix Central senior Brett Johnson earned fifth place among 493 runners to lead the performances of the three local teams in the 2010 Roy Griak Cross Country Invitational at the University of Minnesota on Saturday.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
St. Croix Central senior Brett Johnson earned fifth place among 493 runners to lead the performances of the three local teams in the 2010 Roy Griak Cross Country Invitational at the University of Minnesota on Saturday.
Johnson took fifth place, but had higher expectations. He led through much of the Maroon race, but was caught by four runners in the final stretch of the race.
This was Central’s first time running in the Griak race. Central coach Bill Emery said if Johnson had been more familiar with the course, he likely would have been able to finish in front.
“The last half mile got him,” Emery said about the hilly course at Les Bolstad Golf Club.
Emery wanted his runners to experience the entirety of the meet, so they arrived at the course at 10 a.m. This allowed the kids to see the college races and experience the massiveness of several thousand runners competing.
The Panthers placed 22nd among the 55 boys teams in the Maroon race. Emery said his seniors ran well, while the younger runners got a little caught up in the crowds of runners.
The Panther girls were led by freshman Courtney Kramer, who handled the large crowd well.
The New Richmond and Somerset girls both performed well in the meet, though neither team trained specifically for the meet.
New Richmond’s girls placed 15th in the Maroon meet, the top finish by a Middle Border Conference team. They had plenty of company though. Osceola was 20th, Somerset 21st and Amery 22nd.
Freshman Maddie Kelly stepped up as the lead runner for the Tigers for the first time, finishing 64th among the 394 runners. Morgan Kelly was next, placing 80th and Marissa Neitzke took 105th. The Tigers had six runners finish among the top 123 in the race.
Somerset was led by the tandem of Monica Emerson and Tia Belter. Emerson finished 34th and Belter 39th. Spartan coach Diane Belter said Shelby Peterson and Cassie Schmidt also stepped up their performances. It was a big day for Peterson, who was crowned as Somerset’s Homecoming queen that evening.
For the New Richmond and Somerset boys, this meet proved to be a little above their heads. They finished at the back of the pack in the team standings as top runners on both teams dealt with illness during the race.
Somerset ran in last Tuesday’s Hudson Invitational, but don’t misinterpret the Spartans’ results. Because of their recent heavy meet schedule and a difficult practice the night before, the Spartans were using this as a training run. Coach Belter had the runners throttle back on their pace. Instead, the race was used as a learning experience. The Spartans concentrated on learning how to run up and down hills and race tempo.
Belter said two junior varsity runners who showed good progress in the race were Makenzie Odell and Steph Kelsey.
St. Croix Central will be the next of the local teams in action, running in the Chippewa Falls Invitational at Wissota State Park on Thursday.
New Richmond’s runners will compete in a meet at Tomah on Saturday. The Tigers entered this meet because the Tomah course will be the site of the Division 1 sectional meet in a few weeks.
All three local teams will be in action next Tuesday, competing at the Amery Invitational.