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Wilson wins in 2017 Willow River Run

Perfect weather conditions awaited runners who took part in the 2017 Willow River Run as part of New Richmond's Fun Fest celebration last Thursday.

This was the first year of the race being moved to Thursday evening. The race schedule was streamlined this year, only offering a 5K race. Stephanie Hoff took over as race director this year. She said the goal was to keep the race offerings basic this year, with the possibility of offering more race options in future years.

There were a total of 105 entries this year. Hoff said that was a handful of runners more than the entry total from last season.

"Summer weekends always get so busy," Hoff said about the decision to move the race to Thursday, saying a number of people said they were able to attend the race this year because it was held on a weeknight.

Bailey Wilson, a 2016 New Richmond High School graduate, was the race champion. He finished the course in 17:08. Finishing second was Austin Haseleu, Wilson's long-time high school teammate, who finished in 17:39. The top female finisher was 14-year-old Fiona Smith, who covered the course in 19:03. She finished seventh overall in the race.

There was one age division record broken on Thursday. Kevin Grabau of Hudson, 51, broke the 50-59 course record with a time of 18:50, placing him sixth overall. He broke the record that had been held by Jim Baillargeon.

Hoff said the community was very supportive of the race, with more than $1,000 worth of door prizes donated for the runners. She also praised Dana Bolwerk, who stepped up to assist her in the organization of the race.

The race raises funds for the New Richmond Pathway Committee. It also supports a scholarship. This year's scholarship of $300 was given to Nora Stolley.

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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