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Tigers sweep titles at SCC Invitational

Kayla Harris, Amanda Johnson, Barb Kling, Colette Harrold and Lauren Johnson formed a pack that was hard to beat as the New Richmond girls cross country team won the St. Croix Central Invitational last Thursday. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

The New Richmond cross country teams swept the championships in their first ever running in the St. Croix Central Invitational Thursday, Aug. 31.

And in the process, the Tigers worked on individual and team strategies that will help them be more successful later in the season.

The Tiger boys won with 67 points, finishing 15 points ahead of Durand. The Tiger girls scored 39 points to get their win, finishing nine points ahead of St. Croix Central. This looks like it's going to be a season-long battle. Central lead runner Liv Moll had to drop out of the race, otherwise Central would have won the girls team title by a slim margin.

This is a learning season for the young Tigers, especially the girls, where the team's top three finishers were all freshmen.

"We're trying to have the new kids run a race plan," said Tiger coach Beth Kelly. "That's what we do at the beginning of the season, try different race tactics."

The main tactic in this race was to have the top group for both Tiger squads run in packs for the first portion of the race.

The girls were led by the freshman trio of Kayla Harris, Barb Kling and Willa Rogers. Harris played second, Kling third and Rogers seventh. They were followed by Colette Harrold in 12th and Amanda Johnson in 15th. Sophie Ballard, Maggie Bau and Lauren Johnson all finished among the top 22 runners in the girls race.

Coach Kelly said several girls made big steps in their improvement in this race, led by Amanda Johnson, Kaylee Birch and Ravyn Swanson.

The Tiger boys were led by senior Dylan Wachter, who placed fourth. Max Fore, Joe Smallidge, Caleb Anton, Tyler Harris and John Haasch all finished between 12th and 19th.

Cale Bishop and Tony Graham made significant improvements to move up to be the Tigers' seventh and eighth runners.

Coach Kelly said the girls struggled a bit at the pack running concept, while the boys did an exceptional job of working together as a pack.

The Tigers will be in action again this Saturday running in a relay style meet at Menomonie. The 1-2 runners from each team will run one race, the 3-4-5 runners another race and the 6-7-8 runners in another race, to give them all the feeling of competing against their equals from other teams. The Tigers will also run on Tuesday at the Prescott Invitational.

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.
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