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Somerset cross country runners doing lots of learning

Noah Ashton (441) is a new runner making quick progress for the Somerset boys team.

With the considerable amount of inexperience on the Somerset cross country teams, there is plenty to be learned by the Spartan runners.

With the large majority of the team being in their first or second season of high school running, the Spartans are still finding their way in terms of their running skills. Second year Spartan coach Julie Mocadlo said she is seeing progress from the team, such as the effort they showed in last Thursday's New Richmond Invitational.

The Spartan boys ranked sixth among the 13 teams in Thursday's meet, while the Spartan girls ranked 13th.

Somerset's boys were led by sophomores Brandon Mondor and Cole Harty, who continue to rise fast in the ranks. Mondor placed 14th in the meet and Harty was 16th.

"The top boys went out stronger and held that pace," said Somerset coach Julie Mocadlo.

Another sophomore, Ethan Baillargeon, is a capable third runner. He placed 35th, despite battling a side ache during much of the race.

Junior Noah Ashton is a first year runner and he is also making steady progress. He was able to place 50th among the 89 runners in the varsity race.

The girls race was run at a 5K distance, which was a first-time experience for the new runners on the Spartan squad.

Mocadlo said the girls started the race at a cautious speed, but found they could handle the distance better than they expected. She said the girls have been working at maintaining a more even pace during races and she could see that being practiced by the girls.

Bailey Johnston was Somerset's top finisher, placing 35th. Lauren Sandy and Alyssa Kelly ran together for much of the race, placing 60th and 61st.

Mocadlo said Katie Berg will be moving up to the varsity after her performance in the junior varsity race at New Richmond. Her time would have ranked fourth among the Spartans in the varsity race.

"The (JV race) was a good place for her to be to get some confidence," Mocadlo said.

The Spartans resume their schedule on Saturday morning when they run in the Osceola Invitational. They will also be competing next Tuesday, running in 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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