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St. Croix Central runners keep upping the pace

St. Croix Central freshman Michael Sauer (498) has established himself as a strong second runner for the Panther boys varsity squad.

With nearly 200 runners in each race, the Rice Lake Invitational proved itself to be a meet that tests the concentration levels of the runners.

St. Croix Central’s runners found ways to maintain their focus, which resulted in improved times for nearly every Panther during last Tuesday’s meet.

Central’s boys ranked 10th among 26 full teams in their half of the meet while the Panther girls placed 15th among 28 teams.

Central coach Bill Emery set out specifics for both squads to follow during this race. For the boys, the focus was to find opposing runners they want to be equal to, and stick with them. The Panthers’ third through seventh runners continued to work in a pack. When they weren’t focusing on opposing runners, they were given the challenge of trying to stay with the Panthers’ second runner, freshman Michael Sauer.

Panther lead runner Jordan Bringgold made a push up in the pack that put him with the elite runners. Bringgold finished 14th in a race that was packed with top runners. Emery said Bringgold is getting a better understanding of what his physical capabilities are and how he can work to reach them.

The Panthers had run at New Richmond a few days earlier and Emery said the two courses were quite comparable. That’s why he was quite pleased with the results, because many of the Panthers produced significant improvement in their times since the New Richmond race. Some improved their times by as much as a minute.

There were a number of improved times for the Panther girls, led by senior Courtney Kramer, who trimmed nearly a minute off her time. Among the others who improved their times markedly were freshmen Courtney Carlson and Heidi Hoolihan. 

One of the team goals for the girls at Rice Lake was to get out to a faster start. Emery also had the girls trying to visualize strategies that were discussed in practice to put them into effect during the race.

A nine-day gap between races will end for the Panthers this Thursday when they compete at Durand. The Panthers will also be in action next Tuesday when they run at Prescott.

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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