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New Richmond boys take second, girls fourth at 2012 New Richmond Cross Country Invitational

New Richmond's lead tandem of Alex Charbonneau (144) and Jack Utzman (167) went out with the leaders in the NRI and stayed there. Charbonneau placed third in the boys race and Utzman ranked sixth.1 / 2
New Richmond junior Audrey DeKock (121) works through the loop runners had to cover twice at the back end of the New Richmond course.2 / 2

It's been a long time since the New Richmond boys cross country team has had any hardware it could show off.

Earning the second place trophy in the 2012 New Richmond Invitational was doubly sweet for the Tigers, winning the trophy in front of a home crowd on their new course on the New Richmond High School grounds. Both New Richmond junior varsity teams were champions in their races.

New Richmond's boys placed second behind North St. Paul in the 14-team field at this year's NRI. New Richmond's girls placed fourth in the meet.

The Tiger boys were led by senior Alex Charbonneau and sophomore Jack Utzman, who placed third and sixth in the boys race. All eight Middle Border Conference teams ran in the NRI and New Richmond's top two runners were the top finishers among all the conference runners.

New Richmond's boys were able to get their first five runners to place among the top 25 runners. There were 92 runners competing in the race.

The Tiger girls were hoping for a higher finish than fourth place. Spring Valley, led by standout Breanna Colbenson, won the girls race. The girls also ran the 5K course. Colbenson completed the course in 18:46, which would have ranked 17th in the boys race.

The Tiger girls were led by junior Maddie Kelly who placed ninth and senior Ellen Meisner, who finished 15th. MBC foe Amery finished nine points behind the Tigers, so the girls know they have little margin for error if they want to repeat as MBC champions.

"The girls all need to step it up a notch. It was an OK performance," said Tiger coach Beth Kelly.

New Richmond's runners also competed on Saturday in the Menomonie Relays. The Tiger girls placed sixth and the boys placed ninth in a very strong field of Division 1 teams.

Coach Kelly was happier with the girls' performance on Saturday. She said sophomore Kennedy Kling has made solid progress, moving up to be the third Tiger finisher in Saturday's race.

Among the boys, Coach Kelly said some of the strongest improvement has been coming from the freshmen. Sam Krueger was the JV champion in Thursday's meet and Austin Haseleu was the top finisher among the JV boys on Saturday. Haseleu's strong showing earned him a place in the varsity lineup for the next race.

"That group of freshman boys is a quality group of kids," Kelly said.

Senior Amanda Anez was the JV champion for the Tigers in the NRI last Thursday.


The start of this season has been full of discoveries for the Somerset boys team.

With all eight Middle Border Conference teams running in the NRI, the Spartans ranked third among them, placing fourth overall. And the Spartans were a slim 12 points behind Ellsworth.

Somerset coach Julie Mocadlo said the early season success has the boys eager to see what else they can accomplish. She said the challenge in catching Ellsworth is competing better with Ellsworth's top runners. Ellsworth had three runners finish the race before Somerset's top runner could cross the line.

The Spartan boys have flourished because they've developed a top-five pack that runs very closely together. Josh Verdeja was Somerset's top runner, finishing in 18:49. Keenan Strom made a big advancement in this meet as the Spartans' fifth runner, finishing in 19:22. A 1-5 split of 33 seconds is something coaches are looking for, and having that small spacing this early in the season is a major benefit for the team.

Mocadlo said there is plenty of competition for the final two spots in the varsity lineup and she expects to see more impact from those spots in future races.

The Spartan girls placed 12th in the race. Mocadlo said senior Grace Becher ran well as the Spartans' lead runner, placing 39th. She was also pleased with the progress shown by Kaitlin Raber and Kat Ryther in the girls JV race.

St. Croix Central

The results from the NRI represented hope for both Central teams. The Panther boys showed they are fully capable of competing with the bigger schools in the area. The girls began to show signs of getting healthy and starting the climb toward the middle of the pack.

Central's boys placed fifth among the 14 teams entered in the meet. Senior Brett Briggs pushed his pace in the second half of the race, moving up to 11th overall.

"He caught five guys in the last 800 meters," said Central coach Bill Emery.

Freshman Nathon Madlung and junior Logan Nelson made substantial moves up in the pack to boost the Panthers' team performance. Madlung finished 34th. Emery said the coaches have seen that level of performance from Madlung in practices and they were pleased to have it show in a race. Nelson made the biggest move for the Panthers, stepping up to place 41st in 19:41.

For the Panther girls, the biggest sign of hope came from Hope, as in junior Hope Hoolihan. Emery said he's spent the past week trying to convince Hoolihan that she has much more running talent than she's shown. Emery went as far as comparing Hoolihan's running style to that of Suzy Favor Hamilton, who is the most successful female distance runner Wisconsin has ever produced.

"Hope has a great stride and wonderful potential," Emery said.

Hoolihan appeared to get the message, moving up to be Central's second runner in the meet.

Emery said several girls are healing from injuries, so the team can begin working toward the goals it has set for the season.


New Richmond and Somerset will be in action this Saturday, running in the Osceola Invitational. Somerset and Central will be competing next Tuesday in the Barron Invitational.

2012 New Richmond Invitational Cross

Country Meet

Boys Team Scores: North St. Paul 30, New Richmond 59, Ellsworth 114, Somerset 126, St. Croix Central 141, Spring Valley 218, Baldwin-Woodville 228, Osceola 237, Rice Lake 241, Glenwood City 244, Amery 250, Elmwood-Plum City 311, Durand 313, Prescott 336

New Richmond finishes

3. Alex Charbonneau 17:46; 6. Jack Utzman 18:15; 14. Bailey Wilson 18:41; 15. Ben Norman 18:41; 21. Erik Gilkison 18:57; 25. Zach Schoepke 19:02; 31. Luke Miller 19:19

Somerset finishes

18. Josh Verdeja 18:49; 22. Andrew Thurmes 18:58; 24. Brandon Mondor 19:01; 29. Ethan Baillargeon 19:16; 33. Keenan Strom 19:22; 64. Emmitt Foster 20:56; 67. Austin Headlee 21:03

St. Croix Central finishes

11. Brett Briggs 18:35; 20. Jordan Bringgold 18:56; 34. Nathon Madlung 19:23; 36. Nathan Bringgold 19:30; 40. Logan Nelson 19:41; 52. Andrew Skala 20:19; 59. Tyler Johnson 20:31

Girls Team Scores: Spring Valley 63, North St. Paul 83, Rice Lake 93, New Richmond 104, Amery 113, Osceola 153, Glenwood City 169, Prescott 190, Ellsworth 230, Baldwin-Woodville 235, St. Croix Central 294, Somerset 320

New Richmond finishes

9. Maddie Kelly 21:07; 15. Ellen Meisner 21:41; 26. Shelby Rolland 22:23; 27. Kennedy Kling 22:25; 32. Audrey DeKock 22:33; 46. Meghan Watkins 23:05; 61. Anne Frank 23:48

St. Croix Central finishes

36. Courtney Kramer 22:45; 60. Hope Hoolihan 23:45; 73. Ella Scott 25:06; 74. Lauren Moll 25:13; 76. Ashley Kopacz 26:31; 79. Abbie Webb 26:51

Somerset finishes

39. Grace Becher 22:53; 70. Yosselyn Moncada 24:57; 77. Carrie Kulibert 26:39; 81. Maggie Becher 27:18; 82. Laura Smith 27:39

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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