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Tigers move up to 11th at state cross country

Throughout the season, any obstacles or problems faced by the New Richmond girls cross country team were handled so smoothly that there was no hint there was a ever problem.

That was the case again at the 2008 WIAA State Cross Country Championships in Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday.

There was a possibility that two of the team's leading runners would not be able to run at state because of health issues that kept them out of practice all week. Even when it was decided those two girls would run, the rest of the Tigers knew they would need to throttle up their performance. They did just that, and the Tigers finished 11th among 16 teams in the Division 2 girls state race.

Last year the Tigers placed 14th in the girls state race.

The Tigers were led by senior McKenzie Kelly. Kelly placed 28th overall, with a time of 15:46. This was her third year of running in the state meet.

Two of the other Tigers with state experience, senior Hannah Utzman and sophomore Anna Zietlow, tried running despite being ill. Utzman, suffering from mono, has not been able to practice for two weeks and Zietlow hadn't practiced for one week. They ran as hard as they could, but their energy waned with every step. Utzman placed 111th and Zietlow 126th out of 152 runners.

That meant the rest of the Tigers had to move up. Freshmen Morgan Kelly and Katelyn Walker answered the call like they have all season. Kelly was the Tigers' second runner, placing 94th. Walker was five seconds behind her, taking 100th.

Senior Maria Soderquist ran one of the finest races of her career, moving up to be the team's fourth runner. She placed 102nd at state after placing 140th in the state meet last year.

Freshman Bailey Matthys was the team's seventh runner, placing 128th.

Seniors McKenzie Kelly and Soderquist said the young runners on the team helped the team to reach all of its goals this season.

"They grew up really fast for us," Kelly said.

"We wanted to win conference and sectionals and our home meet and we did all that," Soderquist said.

Coach Beth Kelly echoed the sentiments of her seniors toward the young members of the team.

"The freshman group is so coachable, that's what helped make our team what it is," Coach Kelly said. "They took the seniors' advice and my advice."

The trio of seniors in the varsity lineup made it possible for the younger runners to come in and have success.

Coach Kelly said the seniors "were great about putting the team first. It was never about them."

2008 WIAA Division 2 State Cross Country Championships

Girls Team Scores: Mount Horeb-Barneveld 105, Dodgeville-Mineral Point 116, Pewaukee 117, Catholic Memorial 132, Wisconsin Lutheran 162, Reedsburg 191, Tomahawk 208, Freedom 221, New Berlin Eisenhower 232, New Richmond 261, Kettle Moraine Lutheran 280, West DePere 291, Poynette 305, Amery 329, Notre Dame 330

New Richmond finishes

28. McKenzie Kelly 15:46; 94. Morgan Kelly 16:45; 100. Katelyn Walker 16:50; 102. Maria Soderquist 16:54; 111. Hannah Utzman 17:03; 126. Anna Zietlow 17:21; 128. Bailey Matthys 17:24

Somerset finishes

70. Monica Emerson 16:24

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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