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Tiger girls add to legacy of cross country success with another MBC title

Freshman Marissa Neitzke, Ellen Meisner and Shelby Rolland (front to back) have become key parts of the team's success.

The New Richmond girls cross country team continued to add to its legacy of success at the 2009 Middle Border Conference Cross Country Meet last Thursday at Prescott.

The Tiger girls achieved their third straight conference championship, winning by a 30-point margin over Amery for the 2009 title.

New Richmond's boys ran one of their finest meets of the season to take third place in the boys' half of the conference meet.

Girls' success

What makes the Tigers' success even more remarkable is that none of the girls who ran on the conference championship team this year were on the 2007 Tiger team that won the conference title. That's because the 2009 varsity lineup for the conference meet consisted of three sophomores and four freshmen.

The sophomores are Morgan Kelly, Kat Keller and Bailey Matthys. The freshmen are Ellen Meisner, Anne Frank, Marissa Neitzke and Shelby Rolland.

The conference championship is an extension of what the Tiger girls have been doing all season. They have become the model of how depth wins championships. The top six Tiger girls all finished within a 29-second pack. The Tigers also had the top five JV finishers in Thursday's conference meet.

The Tigers have been like clockwork, literally. Nearly every one of the girls recorded their best times of the season in the conference meet.

All seven of the Tiger varsity runners were either first or second team all-conference runners.

Tiger boys

The Tiger boys were hoping to pull off the upset for the conference title. Instead it was Amery that upset Osceola to win the conference boys race.

The Tigers were also players in that final outcome. By running their best race of the season, the Tigers moved up considerably to spread out Osceola's points.

Three Tiger boys made second team all-conference with their performance. Seniors Nick Stenske and Zeb Johnson and junior Dylan Novitzke receive all-MBC honors. Stenske finished ninth, Johnson 12th and Novitzke 13th. Novitzke was one of the biggest surprises of the race, making a vast move forward to finish as the Tigers' third runner. Freshman Alex Charbonneau was 15th and junior Jason Staples 19th, giving the Tigers a very strong top five for this meet.

Division 1 sectional

With the growing enrollment in the school district, the cross country program was bumped up to the Division 1 level for the WIAA tournaments this year. The Tigers will be competing in the La Crosse Logan sectional meet on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m.

Tiger coach Beth Kelly said that the sectional meet will be packed with talented teams and individuals, making it difficult for the Tigers to qualify anyone for the state meet. She said this will be a good opportunity for the younger Tiger runners to see how far they will need to advance so they can be a threat to reach state in future seasons.

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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