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Spartans are packing up

Eric Forsberg (right) is followed by Jacob Crotty, Sam Koeller and Devin LeQue for the Somerset boys in their home invitational meet Sept. 7. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

Pack running. It was a running concept that was on full display during the Somerset Invitational on Sept. 7.

Several of the teams had instructions to run in packs for parts of the meet, including both Somerset squads. The concept worked extremely well for the Spartans. Somerset's boys tied for second place in the meet and the Spartan girls ranked third among the five teams competing.

The Somerset boys were likely the surprise of the meet. They finished just 12 points behind Prescott, the meet winner.

"Our guys ran awesome," said Somerset coach Abby Christensen.

The top four Somerset runners began the meet in a pack, then broke out into two smaller packs. Seth Erickson and Ben Schmitt worked together and they both ran sub-20 minute times. Erickson finished sixth in 19:51 and Schmitt was eighth in 19:59. Christensen said Schmitt went out a bit too strongly at the start of the team's previous meet, while Erickson was a bit too tentative. She said having them work together helped them both find a pace that they can both successfully carry the length of a race.

Sophomore Tyler Hantsbarger and freshman Thor Sanders stayed in close range of the two lead Spartans. Hantsbarger placed 11th and Sanders 13th.

Alex DeGeest was Somerset's fifth runner, placing 30th. Christensen said there's currently nobody on the roster who runs a similar time to DeGeest that she can team him up in pack. Jacob Crotty and Eric Forsberg were the sixth and seventh varsity finishers.

Just like the boys team, the Spartan girls have moved up to being respected team competitors. The Spartans were led by senior Anya Swanson, who earned the championship in her final home race. Swanson finished nearly 90 seconds ahead of her nearest competition.

The next group of girls did some pack running. Liv Hoff moved up to run with Brycen Chladek and Kristen Vensland. Chladek finished in 19th, Vensland 21st and Hoff 22nd.

"The girls responded really well (to the idea of running in a pack)," Christensen said.

Katie Schroeder was the Spartans' fifth varsity runner, placing 35th. Allison Struemke was 38th and Kaylee Erickson 39th.

The Spartans will resume their schedule Tuesday, Sept. 19, when they run at the Barron 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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