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Griak Invitational a daunting test for local runners

Running in the midst of more than 400 other runners can be a little unnerving and the New Richmond and Somerset cross country teams found it to be a challenge when they competed in the Roy Griak Invitational, sponsored by the University of Minnesota last Saturday.

The local teams didn't do terribly, but none of the runners broke out of the pack to have great days either.

New Richmond's girls placed 16th among 49 teams in the girls high school Maroon race on Saturday. Somerset's girls placed 34th in the Maroon race.

The New Richmond boys wound up taking 34th among the 45 teams in the boys Maroon race. The Somerset boys ended up placing 44th.

New Richmond's girls had 10 girls all finish within a close pack. In fact, the top seven Tiger runners all finished within a 41-second bubble.

Freshman Ellen Meisner moved up to be New Richmond's leader in Saturday's race, placing 81st overall. It seems that there is different girl who ends up being the Tigers' lead runner each race. Coach Beth Kelly said she isn't surprised by that, because any of the top 10 girls have the capability to move to the front on any given day.

That does complicate the lives of the Tiger coaches in one aspect. In the post-season meets, the coaches have to decide on which seven girls will count for the varsity scores. Kelly said the coaches judge this based on how the runners have performed all season, not just who ran the best in the most recent meet.

Nick Stenske led the Tiger boys in the Griak meet, placing 37th. Senior Zeb Johnson made another moved up in the pack to place 150th.

Somerset's girls were led by Monica Emerson and Tia Belter, who placed 61st and 70th in the girls Maroon race. Spartan coach Diane Belter said she was impressed that they ran this well, considering they were fighting a bug that has hit the team. Coach Belter said freshman Grace Becher also fought through the illness to be the Spartans' fourth runner.

The Spartan boys were led by Dakota Belter, who placed 165th overall.

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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