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St. Croix Central runners compete again after Boyceville scare

Somerset's Bailey Johnston showed some fearlessness by taking the lead in the early stages of Thursday's meet at St. Croix Central.1 / 2
The Hoolihan sisters, Hope (left) and Heidi (right) sprinted against each other down the home stretch of Thursday's race in Hammond.2 / 2

One of the scariest scenes many cross country runners and coaches every experienced at a race was when numerous runners needed to be hospitalized because of the intense heat experienced at the Boyceville Invitational on Aug. 29.

Four Panther girls needed to be treated at a hospital emergency room following that meet because of heat exhaustion. The entire team went to the hospital to support their teammates and to make sure if any of the other Panthers needed treatment, they had immediate access.

A total of 23 girls needed medical treatment following that meet.

The girls ran first at Boyceville. After seeing how the heat wiped out the girls, Central coach Bill Emery went to the meet organizers, pulling his boys out of the race. Soon after, it was decided the boys race wouldn't be held at all.

"I saw things I never want to see happen again," said Emery, who has been coaching for more than 20 years.

Fast forward a week to St. Croix Central's invitational last Thursday. The heat wasn't overwhelming, but the Panther girls were still dealing with the mental scars from Boyceville's meet.

"They were all hesitant," Emery said. "It'll be interesting to see how they run this week. Their minds needed time to recover."

The Panther girls placed seventh in the meet. Many of them started at a cautious pace, before gradually working up in the pack as their confidence began to rebound.

While the girls were hesitant, the Panther boys were sharp, winning the meet championship by one point over Amery.

Jordan Bringgold was the top Panther, placing ninth overall. The rest of the Panthers showed the benefits of their pack-running mentality. The next five Panthers finished in a 41-second span, placing 21st to 31st.

"You could see they ran a lot together this summer," Emery said.

Leading that pack was freshman Michael Sauers, who placed 21st in his first varsity race.

"I can't wait to see what he's like by the end of the season. He's got the passion," Emery said.

Also part of that pack for the Panthers were Logan Nelson, Nathan Madlung, Michael Hanson and Nic Hammond.

Somerset runners

With extremely young lineups, the Somerset cross country teams went into their first full meet on Thursday as an unknown. Opponents will know them now.

Somerset's boys only had five runners but they still managed to take fifth place in the meet. The Spartan girls were last in the meet, but they showed a significant amount of promise.

The Spartan boys ranked second among the six Middle Border Conference teams competing at St. Croix Central. The Spartans were led by the trio of Brandon Mondor, Cole Harty and Ethan Baillargeon, who all finished among the top 19 runners in the race. "Those top three can fit in nicely in the conference," said Spartan coach Julie Mocadlo. "You can tell they are running smarter this year. Because they went out smarter, they were able to have stronger finishes."

As a first-year runner, Noah Ashton can learn from the trials the other Spartans went through last year. Ashton placed 40th at Hammond and Austin Headlee finished 58th.

Somerset's girls showed they are still in the learning stages in this meet. Bailey Johnston showed some grit by taking off as the leader for the opening stretch of the race.

"I think by the end of the year, she can be running at that pace," Mocadlo said of Johnston's brave start.

Johnston was Somerset's top runner, placing 22nd. Alyssa Kelly and Lauren Sandy, also new runners, were the team's second and third finishers.

Mocadlo said the girls are gaining running knowledge every day and their hard work might not show up in progress until later in the season.

New Richmond, Rice Lake next

The Spartans and Panthers will see each other frequently over the next few weeks. Somerset and Central will both be running in this Thursday's New Richmond Invitational. The Spartans and Panthers will see each other again at the Rice Lake Invitational.

2013 St. Croix Central Cross Country Invitational

Boys team scores: St. Croix Central 106, Amery 107, Boyceville 109, St. Croix Falls 134, Somerset 141, Elk Mound 161, Osceola 184, Spring Valley 200, Mondovi 215, Elmwood-Plum City 215, Baldwin-Woodville 221, Durand 239, Prescott 275

St. Croix Central varsity runners

9. Jordan Bringgold 19:08; 21. Michael Sauer 19:50; 23. Logan Nelson 20:07; 24. Nathan Madlung 20:08; 29. Michael Hanson 20:28; 31. Nic Hammond 20:31; 47. Hunter Anderson 21:44

Somerset varsity runners

11. Brandon Mondor 19:19; 17. Cole Harty 19:43; 19. Ethan Baillargeon 19:47; 40. Noah Ashton 21:15; 58. Austin Headlee 22:21

Girls team scores: Baldwin-Woodville 87, Glenwood City 95, Spring Valley 105, Osceola 111, Amery 124, Prescott 164, St. Croix Central 185, Durand 205, Somerset 215

St. Croix Central varsity runners

18. Courtney Kramer 18:32; 27. Lauren Moll 19:09; 51. Kenzy Johnson 19:55; 52. Hope Hoolihan 19:58; 53. Heidi Hoolihan 19:58; 56. Courtney Carlson 20:02; 66. Brooke Kopacz 20:34

Somerset varsity runners

22. Bailey Johnston 18:52; 35. Alyssa Kelly 19:25; 41. Lauren Sandy 19:42; 73. Maggie Becher 20:55; 82. Jesse Swanson 21:18; 85. Katie Berg 21:22; 98. Yosselyn Moncada 22:42

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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