Area cross country runners get challenged in Rice Lake, Osceola meetsThe intensity level is definitely picking up as the area cross country teams head into the final weeks of their regular season.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The intensity level is definitely picking up as the area cross country teams head into the final weeks of their regular season.
New Richmond and Somerset ran in the Osceola Invitational on Saturday. The Tigers, Spartans and St. Croix Central all competed in the Rice Lake Invitational last Tuesday. These are two large meets that test the nerve of runners and how willing they are to fight their way through packs of opponents.
The Rice Lake Invitational is one of the biggest in western Wisconsin, with 30 teams competing in the race. This is one of the most tactical races of the season. Because of the large number of runners and the narrow stretches in the course, getting out to a good start is essential.
The New Richmond girls took second place among the 30 teams, finishing behind Hudson. The Tigers did defeat Rice Lake, which had topped the Tigers in their home invitational the previous week.
The Tigers showed a true “pack mentality” at Rice Lake, getting their top five runners to finish among the top 31 finishers. The experience of the Tiger girls stood out, because they hit the opening stretch of the race hard to assure that they’d be in a good place for the rest of the race.
The Kelly sisters, Morgan and Maddie, led the Tigers by placing 12th and 15th. Emily Bischof, Bailey Matthys and Ellen Meisner rounded out the top five for the Tigers.
The Tiger boys improved considerably on their finish from a year ago at Rice Lake, placing 12th overall. Junior Alex Charbonneau stepped up his pace in this meet, finishing 31st. Ben Norman and Jack Utzman ran together for much of the race, finishing 76th and 78th. The same was done by Luke Miller and Zack Schoepke, who were runners 102 and 103.
St. Croix Central’s boys took 13th at Rice Lake, but they were running without their lead runner. Senior Stephen Brunshidle began to have abdominal pain the night after running in the New Richmond Invitational. Two days later, he underwent appendectomy surgery.
The surgery hasn’t knocked him out for the season. Panther coach Bill Emery said Brunshidle was scheduled to begin running on Monday and he expects Brunshidle to be back at full strength by the time the Panthers run in the Amery Invitational on Oct. 4.
Brunshidle and Alex Halvorson are the Panthers’ co-captains. With Brunshidle out, Halvorson took on even more of the leadership role.
“Alex took the bull by the horns and led very well,” Emery said.
Emery also praised senior Luke DeGross for taking on a mentoring role for the runners on the junior varsity team.
Halvorson led the Panther boys by placing 29th overall. Brett Briggs and Logan Nelson were next, placing 82nd and 86th, which represented a nice move forward by Nelson. Andrew Skala and Jordan Bringgold were the fourth and fifth varsity runners.
Central’s girls took 18th in their half of the meet. Courtney Kramer ran a strong race for the Panthers, taking 25th. Lauren Moll finished 91st and Hope Hoolihan placed 95th. Emery said Hoolihan now looks to be at full strength after an injury derailed her training before the start of the season.
Somerset’s girls placed 20th and the Spartan boys finished 22nd in their races at Rice Lake. Spartan coach Diane Belter said her team’s inexperience was costly in this race. Many of the Spartans didn’t have the strong start they needed and they got caught further back in the pack than they wanted to be.
Belter said she was impressed with the effort of Tyler Kampsula in the boys race, where he finished as the third Spartan runner.
“We never saw him settle,” Belter said.
Both of last week’s races featured 5K distances for the girls races. Belter said her girls weren’t accustomed to pacing at the 5K distance, but found it easier to handle than they’d thought. Belter was pleased with the performance of senior Lizzy Vanasse, who showed good strength in the latter parts of the race.
New Richmond’s girls put in another second place showing on Saturday at Osceola. The only team to beat the Tigers was Mahtomedi, Minn., which traditionally brings a powerhouse team to this meet.
Mahtomedi won the meet with 57. New Richmond followed with 68 points, with Rice Lake in third with 80 points.
The big news for the Tigers was the performance of Bischof, who placed seventh overall in 20:22.
“Emily had the race of her life,” said Tiger coach Beth Kelly.
The Tigers flowed in a pack near the front of the race. Their top five runners finished among the top 23 and their top seven all finished among the top 32 girls in the race. Morgan Kelly finished ninth, Maddie Kelly 10th, Matthys 19th, Kat Keller 23rd, Ellen Meisner 27th and Anne Frank 32nd.
The Tiger boys placed eighth among the 14 teams. Coach Kelly had Charbonneau run with Norman in this race and it helped Norman cut another 30 seconds from his previous best time. With Norman’s emergence, the Tigers are a serious threat to finish in the top half of the teams in the Middle Border Conference meet.
“Everybody loves Bennie, he’s such a likeable kid,” Coach Kelly said. “(His progress) helps the other kids too.”
Utzman and Walter DeKock ran together as the Tigers’ third and fourth runners. They finished 50th and 51st, with DeKock registering a personal best time of 18:56.
A new addition to the Tiger varsity lineup was senior Matt Lindberg. A first-year runner, he was the Tigers’ sixth finisher, placing 68th with a time of 19:22.
Somerset’s boys made a big advancement from Tuesday’s race, finishing ninth at Osceola. Lead runners Jake Wishard and Josh Verdeja maintained strong position throughout the race to place 23rd and 24th. Kampsula remained steady, placing 48th. Alex Meyer also improved as the Spartans’ fourth runner, taking 66th in 19:19.
The Spartan girls were without lead runner Tia Belter, who is recovering from mononucleosis. Junior Grace Becher took over as the Spartans’ lead runner, finishing 49th.
“Grace did everything that we asked,” Coach Belter said. “She went out harder, but she did it within reason.”
Sarah Brown, Carrie Kulibert, Yosselyn Moncada and Laura Smith rounded out the Spartans’ five varsity scoring positions.
All three area high school teams will be running in the Roy Griak Invitational at the University of Minnesota this weekend. Several local runners will be competing for college teams, including McKenzie Kelly for UW-Oshkosh and Hannah Utzman for UW-La Crosse.
2011 Rice Lake Cross Country Invitational
Girls Team Scores: Hudson 46, New Richmond 106, Rice Lake 116, Osceola 228, Menomonie 230, Hayward 235, Chippewa Falls 266, Flambeau 272, Eau Claire North 275, Bloomer 279, Webster 333, Colfax 337, Ellsworth 367, Amery 417, Ashland 442 Cameron 469, St. Croix Falls 471, St. Croix Central 479, Glenwood City 495, Somerset 512, Cumberland 514, Spooner 525, Shell Lake 642, Chetek-Weyerhaueser 678, Ladysmith 688, Boyceville 688, McDonell 717, Unity 767, Grantsburg 780, Bruce 789
New Richmond finishes
12. Morgan Kelly 20:27; 15. Maddie Kelly 20:47; 19, Emily Bischof 20:58; 29. Bailey Matthys 21:10; 31. Ellen Meisner 21:17; 42. Kat Keller 21:43; 97. Ari Ziemer 23:01
St. Croix Central finishes
35. Courtney Kramer 21:25; 91. Lauren Moll 22:55; 95. Hope Hoolihan 22:59; 113. Ella Scott 23:50; 145. Abbie Webb 24:37; 176. Emily Talapa 26:29; 177. McKenzy Johnson 26:29
23. Tia Belter 21:00; 89. Sarah Brown 22:52; 93. Grace Becher 2:57; 144. Carrie Kulibert 24:37; 163. Yosselyn Moncada 25:44; 186. Lizzy Vanasse 28:15; 187. Laura Smith 28:17
Boys Team Scores: Grantsburg 81, Hudson 116, Eau Claire North 153, Ellsworth 154, Eau Claire North 183, Menomonie 211, St. Croix Falls 257, Ashland 276, Colfax 321, McDonell 364, Bloomer 370, New Richmond 390, St. Croix Central 406, Rice Lake 420, Webster 444, Bruce 451, Osceola 459, Barron 468, Boyceville 471, Hayward 516, Cameron 518, Somerset 526, Amery 536, Unity 658, Durand 688, Chetek-Weyerhaeuser 711, Ladysmith 758, Cumberland 783
New Richmond finishes
31. Alex Charbonneau 17:34; 76. Ben Norman 18:44; 78. Jack Utzman 18:45; 102. Luke Miller 19:12; 103. Zach Schoepke 19:14; 109. Walter DeKock 19:23; 141. Alec Knox 19:59
St. Croix Central finishes
29. Alex Halvorson 17:30; 82. Brett Briggs 18:50; 86. Logan Nelson 18:54; 97. Andrew Skala 19:06; 112. Jordan Bringgold 19:30; 129. Nathan Bringgold 19:45; 130. Tyler Johnson 19:45
61. Jake Wishard 18:26; 70. Josh Verdeja 18:34; 92. Tyler Kampsula 19:02; 147. Emmitt Foster 20:08; 156. Austin Headlee 20:50; 172. Tyler Lindquist 21:29