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Moll is champion at Prescott Invite

St. Croix Central senior Will Spitzmueller (right) shows his competitiveness in this sprint to the finish line during a recent Panther meet. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

Successfully dealing with some brutal heat and humidity while getting an early chance to see the course where the Middle Border Conference meet will be run made last Tuesday's trip to Prescott worthwhile for the St. Croix Central cross country team.

And the results weren't bad either. The Panthers took second place behind New Richmond in both halves of the meet. And Central senior Liv Moll earned the girls championship, winning the race by 15 seconds over her nearest competitor.

The meet had a little of everything for the Panthers, and "entertaining" was how Central coach Bill Emery summed up the night.

"A little scary, a little fun, a little too hot," Emery said.

The meet wasn't too hot for Moll, who was strong, smooth and confident in maintaining her place at the front of the race. The Panther girls had six of the top 13 finishers in the race. Marie Hamlin, Claire Moll and Sydney Carlson formed a nice pack to finish sixth, seventh and eighth. Mariah Withuski and Mya Kizer finished three seconds apart to place 12th and 13th, with Kourtney Labeause in 17th.

Emery said, that among the girls, the Moll sisters and Carlson ran quite well in the humid conditions.

The Panther girls finished 11 places behind New Richmond in the meet. The boys were nearly as close, finishing 14 points behind New Richmond. And the Panthers ran without freshman Cougar Holder, who was their top finisher in their previous meet. Senior Derek Rock also had to pull out of the meet due to dehydration.

With Holder, senior Will Spitzmueller and sophomore Erik Collins, the Panthers are developing a formidable 1-2-3 combination. Spitzmueller and Collins finished fifth and sixth at Prescott, both with times of 18:33. Emery said Spitzmueller and Collins are very competitive within the team format.

"They are feeding off each other like crazy," he said.

The Panthers had two more packs within the varsity lineup. Spencer Goodwin and Micah Larsen finished four seconds apart to place 11th and 13th. Jakob Eggen and Josh Burgess were 11 seconds apart to place 15th and 17th. The Panthers were also without Riley Hackbarth for the meet.

There is now more than a week between meets for the Panthers. They will run this Saturday at the Roy Griak Invitational at the University of Minnesota, which gives the runners the experience of competing within a large field of runners. Emery said the 10 days between meets is needed at this time.

"They need a little down time. I've been pushing them pretty hard," he said.

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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