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Central boys earn school's first cross country title

The St. Croix Central boys team earned the first conference cross country championship in school history when the Panther boys ran away with the 2008 Dunn-St. Croix Conference championship last Thursday.

Central's girls nearly made it a sweep of the titles. They finished second in the girls race during the meet that was held at Boyceville last Thursday.

The Panther boys left no doubt that they would win the conference title. By the 200-yard mark the Panthers' top five runners were like a blue wave across the front of the pack. Central had five of the top seven finishers in the race to win with 20 points. Mondovi was second with 62 points.

Central sophomore Brett Johnson continued his incredible season by winning the 2008 individual conference championship. Johnson had a 22-second cushion over the second place runner.

This is one of the first times this season that the Panthers have had all their runners healthy. It showed, with seniors Steve Zerwas and Derrek Pedersen running together, taking third and fourth place overall.

They were followed closely by Stephen Brunshidle and Ryan Hansen, who took fifth and seventh overall. That put five Panthers onto the all-conference first team.

Panther coach Bill Emery said he ended up changing his coaching tactic during this race. Because the top five runners were doing so well, he was working with the next group of runners. He was reminding them that they were competing for the sixth and seventh spots, which would assure them of running in the varsity lineup in this Friday's WIAA Division 2 Unity Sectional Meet.

It was David Butler and Alex Halvorson who moved up to take the sixth and seventh varsity spots.

Central's girls

The Panther girls put together another strong effort, led by Michelle Brunshidle. Brunshidle has been the model of consistency this season and that continued again, when she took second place in the conference meet.

There was then a gap, before Anna Langer and Corynne Nelson came across as the 12th and 13th runners. This was Nelson's best performance of the season.

Martha Landry was close behind, taking 17th. Janel Jacobson took 20th as the fifth scoring runner for the Panthers.

WIAA sectionals

The Panthers have high hopes for Friday's sectional meet at Unity. Two teams advance from the sectional meet to state and Emery said the Panther boys plan on being one of those teams.

"I think they've got a good chance," Emery said.

The Panther girls have an outside chance of qualifying as a team for state. Emery said New Richmond is the favorite in the girls race, but that the Panthers have a chance of earning the second spot.

"They've got to run the race of their season, all together," Emery said on what it would take for the girls to advance as a team.

2008 Durand Invitational Cross Country Meet

Boys Team Scores: St. Croix Central 20, Mondovi 62, Glenwood City 96, Colfax 102, Boyceville 116, Spring Valley 181

St. Croix Central finishes

1. Brett Johnson 16:39; 3. Steve Zerwas 17:31; 4. Derrek Pedersen 17:32; 5. Stephen Brunshidle 17:41; 7. Ryan Hansen 17:44; 16. David Butler 18:43; 17. Logan Snyder 18:44; 21. Alex Halvorson 19:02; 22. Ethan Hofland 19:17; 26. Jonathan Mielke 19:28; 29. Derek Ray 19:41; 34. Chris Halvorson 20:22; 42. Andrew Lathe 21:08; 54. Taylor Butler 23:37; 56. Thomas Arneson 24:42; 57. Luke DeGross 25:19

Girls Team Scores: Colfax 33, St. Croix Central 62, Mondovi 73, Glenwood City 102, Elmwood 106, Spring Valley 132

St. Croix Central finishes

2. Michelle Brunshidle 16:11; 12. Anna Langer 16:57; 13. Corynne Nelson 17:17; 17. Martha Landry 17:49; 20. Janel Jacobson 18:11; 24. Abby Delander 18:28; 41. Maddie Skaalrud 21:00

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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