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Belter takes 64th at state cross country meet

Tia Belter (45) is shown competing in the state cross country meet on Saturday.

Somerset's Ontario "Tia" Belter had the same problem at the 2009 WIAA State Cross Country Championships on Saturday that her teammate, Monica Emerson, had last year.

They didn't have each other to run with at the state meet.

Belter and Emerson are nearly inseperable as runners. They run together in the cross country and track seasons and they do nearly all of their off-season distance work together.

The proof they're inseperable even shows in their state results. Belter finished 64th in the 2009 girls Division 2 state meet, with a time of 16:27. That's nearly the exact time and place that Emerson ended up last year when she ran as an individual in the state meet.

"Those two have run every race together. You get used to that," said Somerset coach Diane Belter, Tia's mother. "I think that threw her a little bit."

Coach Belter said she thought her daughter ran one of her best strategic races of her career. They'd set a target time for Tia for the first mile and she nailed it exactly. They didn't want her to burn out early in the race and she didn't.

By placing 64th among the 152 runners in the race, Belter was well within the top half of the runners in the meet.

The biggest benefit for the Spartans is they will now have two runners coming back next year who have had the experience of running at state. Belter is a sophomore and Emerson is a junior. The Spartans had several younger girls who made substantial improvements this season. With the experience that Emerson and Belter now have, the Spartans will be one of the more seasoned teams in the Middle Border Conference next season.

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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