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Belter-Emerson combination leads charge by Somerset girls runners

Gavin Germain overcame breathing issues for the Spartan boys during the NRI.

Sophomore Tia Belter earned the individual championship, with junior teammate Monica Emerson steps behind her in third place, in leading the Somerset girls cross country team to a fourth place finish in the 2009 New Richmond Invitational last Thursday.

The Spartan girls were five points behind second place Amery and 22 points behind victorious New Richmond. Coach Diane Belter has been trying to convince the girls that they can compete with the best teams in the area. This race may have convinced them.

"They see it," Coach Belter said. "It was the first time I saw enthusiasm from the team as a whole."

Emerson gave a gutty performance in taking the lead and holding it for much of the race. That willingness to extend her physical limits was a reflection of the team's intensity in improving. Tia Belter stayed close behind Emerson and when Emerson faded slightly in the home stretch, Belter moved into the lead.

It wasn't just the top two that moved forward for the Spartans. Sophomore Sara Henry and freshman Grace Becher made big improvements as the Spartans' third and fourth runners.

Coach Belter was also enthused over the effort from Emily Parent. Parent was Somerset's top runner in the JV meet as she competed in her first meet of the season. Belter said she expects Parent to move into the varsity lineup and instigate more competition for the fifth varsity position.

While the Spartan girls are trying to compete with the best teams in the Middle Border Conference, many of the Spartan boys are learning to compete and pace themselves over the course of a distance race.

The Spartan boys were led by junior Dakota Belter, who placed 36th. The team placed tenth in the boys meet.

Coach Belter said Zach Helgeson and Jake Wishard showed solid progress in this race. She said Joe Germain and Dante Germain showed that they are starting to figure out how to pace themselves for a 5,000-meter race.

The Spartans will be back in action this Saturday, when they run in the Osceola Invitational. On Tuesday the Spartans will run in the Hudson 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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