Weather Forecast


Mitchell eighth, Slocum 16th at state CC

Tiger girls repeat 12th place team finish at state

The most successful class of New Richmond girls cross country runners completed their high school careers at the 2004 WIAA State Cross Country Meet in Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday.

Seniors Ayla Mitchell, Hannah Demulling and Rachael Olson ran in their fourth straight state cross country championships. Mitchell led the Tigers by placing eighth in the state meet, the third straight top 10 finish for Mitchell at state.

The Tiger girls finished 12th among the 14 teams in the state Division 2 race, the same spot they finished in at the 2003 state meet.

Mitchell becomes the first Tiger girl to place in the top 10 at state three times during her career. Mitchell finished 16th at state as a freshman, ninth as a sophomore, sixth as a junior and now eighth as a senior. Andrea Beuning is the only other girl to have placed in the top 10 twice. Beuning placed third in 1987, ninth in 1988 and 11th in 1989. Until this year, Beuning was the only Tiger girl to run at the state cross country meet in all four years of her high school career.

Mitchell had been hoping to improve on her sixth place finish from last season. The lead pack of six girls pulled away early in the race and Mitchell spent the rest of the meet trying to chase down that pack. She ended up sprinting to the finish among the second pack of runners, being edged out of seventh by inches by Shorewood's Claire Maduza.

It was an emotional scene following the race as all girls hoped to do better, with Mitchell being one of the most emotional. Tiger coach Brent Aukema said it was the team's way of dealing with a season full of expectations and pressures.

"I think she ran a great season," Aukema said of Mitchell. "She is the kind of competitor who is always looking to do better."

The Tiger who made the biggest move up from last season at state was junior Natalie Johnson. Last year in her first state meet Johnson placed 61st. This year Johnson moved up to 44th.

Hannah Zimmerman and Hannah Demulling were then the Tigers' third and fourth runners, with Zimmerman placing 98th and Demulling 114th.

Olson and freshmen Courtney Nyberg and Maggie Demulling were the Tigers' final three runners. Aukema said the freshmen handled the pressure of their first state meet well.

The loss of the three seniors will leave a huge void in the girls team. Aukema said that Johnson and Zimmerman are ready to take the leadership role for next season. Nyberg and Maggie Demulling have already established themselves as quality varsity runners and JV runners like Liz Scheder and Lindsey Novitzke have the potential to move up to the varsity next season. There are also several eighth grade girls who could contribute to the team next year.

Aukema said he hopes that the three seniors will someday realize what they have accomplished in their outstanding careers.

"Right now they won't truly appreciate what they've done, but years from now they'll look back and see how special it has been," he said.

2004 WIAA State Cross Country Meet at Wisconsin Rapids

Girls Team Scores: Tomahawk 99, Dodgeville/Mineral Point 106, Pewaukee 115, Beloit Catholic Memorial 128, Shorewood 162, West Salem 165, Winneconne 173, Kiel 213, Little Chute 228, Amery 237, Mauston 249, New Richmond 258, Evansville 272, Winnebago Lutheran Academy 322

New Richmond girls results

8. Ayla Mitchell 15:31; 44. Natalie Johnson 16:22; 98. Hannah Zimmerman 17:22; 114. Hannah Demulling 17:46; 122. Courtney Nyberg 18:06; 124. Rachael Olson 18:08; 125. Maggie Demulling 18:10


Alec Slocum takes aim at being a four-time WIAA state runner after placing 16th in the 2004 WIAA Division 2 Boys State Cross Country Meet on Saturday.

The 16th place finish adds to the progress Slocum has made at state. He finished 48th at state as a freshman in 2002, when he was the only freshman to be an individual qualifier. Last year he placed 23rd at state.

"He's following that true progression that male distance runners go through, he gets better every year," said Tiger coach Brent Aukema.

The lead pack in the boys Division 2 race took off at an extremely fast pace. Slocum conserved his energy at the start. He then worked his way up through the pack. He got as high as 12th place briefly late in the race. He had to use up a great deal of energy getting through packs of runners because there was such a condensed pack of runners all through this race.

The pack of runners was jammed in so tightly for much of the race that Slocum didn't know that he'd been nicked by another runner's spikes during the race. Once he was out among the New Richmond fans, it was noticed that Slocum had a trail of blood running down his shin from being nicked by a spike on the bottom of another runner's shoe.

2004 WIAA State Cross Country Meet at Wisconsin Rapids

Boys Team Scores: Shorewood 96, Catholic Memorial 108, Tomahawk 136, Lakeside Lutheran 139, McFarland 159, Sheboygan Falls 166, Altoona 170, Luxemburg-Casco 179, Kiel 184, Mosinee 219, Dodgeville-Mineral Point 228, Osceola 234, Hayward 268, West Salem 306

New Richmond boys results

16. Alec Slocum 17:08

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
(715) 243-7767 x242