New Richmond runners humbled in Division 1 sectional meetAt the end of each successful New Richmond cross country season in recent years, the Tigers have a humbling end inflicted on their season.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
At the end of each successful New Richmond cross country season in recent years, the Tigers have a humbling end inflicted on their season.
Moving up to compete in one of the strongest Division 1 sectional tournaments in the state will do that to a team.
The Tigers were the smallest team competing in the Tomah Division 1 sectional meet on Saturday. The Tiger girls finished ninth in the team competition while the Tiger boys placed 12th in their half of the meet.
The Tiger girls had hoped to improve on their eighth place finish from last year. But with Onalaska, another top caliber team, moved into the sectional this year, it made the Tigers’ challenge even tougher.
The instruction the Tigers received this week was to concentrate on individual goals. Senior Morgan Kelly went out hard, running with the lead pack, in hopes of staying with the leaders to earn a spot as a state individual qualifier. Her younger sister, Maddie, went with her on that bold start. They couldn’t maintain the pace set by the leaders and moved back to run in the pack the Tigers have used so well this season.
The Tigers’ four top runners finished together, each one second apart. Senior Bailey Matthys was the lead runner, finishing 48th in 16:59. Morgan Kelly was 49th in 17:00, followed by Emily Bischof in 17:01 and Ellen Meisner in 17:02. Maddie Kelly was the Tigers’ fifth finisher, placing 56th in 17:19.
The Tiger boys competed without their lead runner, junior Alex Charbonneau. He’s sidelined by a mystery foot injury that is being treated as a stress fracture.
“If we had (Charbonneau), the boys wouldn’t have been last,” Coach Beth Kelly said.
Junior Ben Norman was the Tigers’ top finisher, placing 56th in 18:29. Freshman Charlie Utzman was four seconds behind him, in 60th place.
The Tigers will be hit hard by graduation this year. They lose seven girls in the senior class and five boys. Each team had three seniors in the lineup at the sectional meet.
Coach Kelly said there was a great deal of sadness over the season ending. She said it wasn’t because of the finish at the sectional meet, but because of how closely knit the team has become through the years.