Surprise! Somerset boys win SCC Cross Country Invitational titleWhen the champions of the St. Croix Central Cross Country Invitational were announced last Thursday, the most shocked group was the boys team from Somerset.
When the champions of the St. Croix Central Cross Country Invitational were announced last Thursday, the most shocked group was the boys team from Somerset.
The Spartan boys had been basking in the satisfaction that they’d opened the season with a strong performance, but they never gave a thought to the team championship. So when the Spartans were announced as champions, it caught the Spartans by surprise.
“We were all surprised,” said Julie Mocadlo, who was coaching the Spartans in her first full meet as varsity coach.
The Spartan boys are a vastly different team than last season. None of the top five Spartan runners in Thursday’s meet were on the team at the end of last season. The Spartans were led by freshman Brandon Mondor, who placed eighth at Central. Senior Josh Verdeja finished 17th and sophomore Andrew Thurmes was 23rd. Freshman Ethan Baillargeon placed 29th and senior Keenan Strom ran 33rd.
St. Croix Central’s boys were also a major factor in Thursday’s race, placing second among the 13 boys team competing. The Panthers were led by senior Brett Briggs, who has made a vast improvement since last season. Briggs moved up steadily through the pack during the race to finish in sixth place.
The Bringgold brothers ran second and third for Central in this meet. Nathan Bringgold was 22nd and his brother, Jordan, was seven seconds behind him in 26th.
Senior Andrew Skala was the fourth Panther to cross the finish line, placing 28th. Freshman Nathan Madlung was the fifth Central runner, placing 38th.
Because of the mid-90 degree weather on Thursday, meet officials took numerous precautions in planning the race. Central coach Bill Emery said a trainer was on hand in case any runners had issues with the heat. There was also water available along the course and coaches were able to supply water for their runners during the race.
The Somerset and Central girls teams didn’t fare quite as well as their male counterparts. The Somerset girls placed 12th and Central’s girls placed 14th.
Somerset’s girls have limited varsity experience. Senior Grace Becher, who led the Spartans by placing 25th, is the most experienced of the Somerset runners. Juniors Yosselyn Moncada and Carrie Kulibert placed 62nd and 76th as the Spartans’ second and third runners.
Junior Courtney Kramer returns as Central’s top runner. She placed 26th in Thursday’s meet. The Panthers were without their second and third runners due to injuries. Coach Emery said his girls team ran scared and underachieved in Thursday’s meet.
“We need to get rid of our fears first,” Emery said. “We’ve got a ways to go.”
Both teams resume their schedules this Thursday when they run in the New Richmond Invitational. Both teams will also be in action next Tuesday, running in the Rice Lake Invitational.