Somerset cross country doesn't get any runners to stateSomerset seniors Tia Belter and Jake Wishard hoped they could work their way up in the packs of runners at the Barron Division 2 sectional meet and somehow qualify for the 2011 WIAA state cross country championships.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Somerset seniors Tia Belter and Jake Wishard hoped they could work their way up in the packs of runners at the Barron Division 2 sectional meet and somehow qualify for the 2011 WIAA state cross country championships.
Despite running some of the best races of their careers, they both fell just short of their ultimate goal.
Belter finished 13th in the girls race, crossing 10 seconds behind the final individual state qualifier. Wishard was 18th in the boys’ race, nine places behind the final boys state qualifier.
This meet also marked the end of the line for Somerset coach Diane Belter, who is retiring after coaching in the Somerset program for 15 years.
Tia Belter has been a top level runner throughout her high school career. Despite running one of her best times, 15 minutes and 59 seconds, Belter couldn’t crack the top 10 in this strong field of female runners.
“I thought it was one of her best races ever,” said Coach Belter. “She just didn’t have any more in the tank for those last 100 yards.”
Belter has experienced the state meet twice before, running at state in 2009 and 2010.
The sectional race may have been Wishard’s best, not only in terms of his time, but in the relentless effort he showed from start to finish. Wishard’s time was the sixth best in Spartan history.
His teammates were so engrossed in helping Wishard try to get to state that they pretty much sacrificed their own races to help him. Coach Belter said Tyler Kampsula and Alex Meyer went out for the first 1,000 meters with Wishard. That’s a much faster pace than they generally run, because they wanted to help Wishard push his pace to stay with the state contenders. Coach Belter said that was especially selfless of Kampsula, who was running in his final race as a senior.
Coach Belter said this race was an excellent way for the Spartans to end the season. Nearly all the boys and girls competing in the sectional meet recorded personal best times.
For Belter, she had the opportunity to experience coaching all four of her children as they competed in cross country for the Spartans. Belter has been working with first-year assistant coach Ayla Helland with the plan for Helland to take over as head coach next season.
“I’m so glad I had this opportunity,” Belter said of her coaching career.