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Tiger runners draw a pair of second place finishes

The New Richmond girls found out they will be right in contention for the Middle Border Conference leadership again this year.

The Tiger boys found out that even without their lead runner, they can be a formidable team. All this was discovered during the 2008 New Richmond Cross Country Invitational, run at Paperjack Elementary School last Thursday.

Both New Richmond teams placed second among the 14 teams competing in the meet. The Tiger girls finished behind MBC rival Ellsworth, while the Tiger boys were only beaten by St. Croix Central.

Tiger coach Beth Kelly was clearly pleased with the performances from both New Richmond teams. The girls placed a trio of girls among the top seven finishers in a talent-packed girls race. Senior Hannah Utzman was the third place finisher with classmate McKenzie Kelly in fourth place. Sophomore Anna Zietlow took seventh place.

Taking second place was accomplished while the girls were concentrating on pack running for much of the race. Kelly, Zietlow and freshman Katelyn Walker, who placed 13th, ran together for much of the race. A little further back, Maria Soderquist, Morgan Kelly and Mary Balow ran together for much of the race.

"The team is really finding ways for the whole team to run better," Coach Kelly commented. "I think they were really excited about their results."

The boys ran without lead runner Jake Wickham, who was held out of the race because of tendonitis in his knee.

The rest of the boys stepped up their efforts. Nick Stenske took on the role as the lead runner and he ran with it. Stenske stayed with the frontrunners throughout the race, finishing fourth overall.

All five of the Tigers' top boys finishers came in under 20 minutes and were among the top 26 finishers in the meet. Coach Kelly said this group of Sam Skatrud, Jason Staples, Andy Steffen and Colton Simpson did an excellent job of pushing themselves during the middle of the race to keep a more consistent pace.

The Tiger boys beat all of the Middle Border Conference teams in the meet, while the Tiger girls were only topped by Ellsworth.

Another chance for the Tigers to measure themselves against most of the Middle Border Conference teams will arrive this Saturday. That's when they will be running in the Osceola 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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