Panther boys cross country seeks third straight D-SC titleBeing “King of the Hill” in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference is something in which the St. Croix Central boys cross country team takes great pride.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Being “King of the Hill” in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference is something in which the St. Croix Central boys cross country team takes great pride.
So when the Panthers run in the 2010 D-SC meet at Boyceville this Thursday, pride will be a driving force. They have won each of the two past conference championships.
“A three-peat is the conference goal,” said Panther coach Bill Emery.
Emery said he’d like to see his top five runners all finish within the top 14 runners in the meet, which would earn them each all-conference honors.
The conference meet will be held at Tiffany Creek Elementary School in Boyceville. The boys race begins at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, with the girls race at 5 p.m.
If the Panthers can get all seven varsity runners healthy by the conference meet, it would help their chances considerably. When the Panthers ran at the Amery Invitational last Friday, they were missing two of their top five runners and they still took second place in the large school division.
Missing at Amery were the Halvorson brothers, Alex and Chris. Alex is being bothered by the same hip injury that ended his 2009 season prematurely. Chris is dealing with shin splints.
A good sign for the Panthers at Amery was an improved effort by Jon Mielke. He battled injuries early in the season and is now on the upswing.
The Panthers were led at Amery by Brett Johnson and Stephen Brunshidle. Johnson stayed back with Brunshidle through the first 2.5 miles of the race, barking encouragement at his younger teammate.
At that point Johnson was well back from the lead pack. There was no way he would catch Webster’s Jack Taylor, who had a huge lead on the field. But Johnson did catch and pass nine other runners, moving up to take second place. Brunshidle kept up his strong pace too, placing 12th overall.
Emery was pleased with the showing from Brett Briggs in this meet. Briggs continues to move up in the pack in every race.
The Panther girls likely won’t be able to compete with Colfax and Mondovi for the conference title, but the Panthers can still have an impact in the race.
Emery said he considers freshman Courtney Kramer a strong candidate for all-conference honors. He said Hope Hoolihan has been “pushing herself more and more” and he thinks she may be able to work into the top 14 and earn all-conference status too.
Kramer was Central’s top finisher at Amery last Tuesday, taking 20th overall. Hoolihan finished 46th. Senior Corynne Nelson, another of the Panthers working back from an injury, placed 59th.