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Spartans run with progress in mind

The Somerset cross country teams started out the season thinking they were going to be one of the youngest teams in the Middle Border Conference.

The Spartans found out during last Thursday's New Richmond Invitational that being young doesn't preclude them from being competitive in the conference this season.

In Thursday's race the Spartans found that they have the ability to be a factor in the MBC this season.

Both Somerset teams were eighth among the 14 teams competing in Thursday's meet.

The Spartans found their top individuals can compete with the better MBC runners. Michael Meyer and Caleb Belter ranked ninth and 11th among the MBC boys competing in Thursday's meet and all the MBC teams were competing in Thursday's race.

Somerset coach Diane Belter said she feels her top three female runners of Tia Belter, Monica Emerson and Johanna Smith all have the capability of ranking among the top 14 runners in the MBC.

Where the Somerset are working to gain ground is in the knowledge of how to race and compete in a conference packed with strong runners.

"We're very inexperienced and in every meet we gain experience," Coach Belter said.

The Spartans boys have Meyer and Belter running as a strong top pair of runners. That wasn't expected to be the case, but Belter has improved dramatically.

"I credit Michael with a lot of that," Coach Belter said. "He's been pushing Caleb and Caleb worked very hard over the summer."

Coach Belter said the Spartans have the makings of a solid varsity boys lineup. She said Cole Cloutier and Dakota Belter have the ability to be much more of a factor in races. She said they need a fifth runner to step up, though she suspects that Steven Bracht will soon be ready to take on that role. She said another bright spot to the boys race was senior Tye Lyons, who ran a personal best time by nearly a minute.

The Spartans will get another chance to measure themselves against most of the MBC teams, when they run in the Osceola Invitational this Saturday.

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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