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New Richmond runners hope pack running leads to MBC titles

Senior Lexi Brown (162) placed 13th in her final home meet for the Tiger cross country team during the recent New Richmond Invitational.

The power of the pack has the New Richmond cross country teams thinking they can win Middle Border Conference championships this week.

The Middle Border Conference meet will be held Thursday at osceola. The Tigers are a threat to win titles in the boys and girls conference meets.

The Tigers are coming off a strong performance at the Old Abe Invite, hosted by Eau Claire Memorial on Saturday. The Tiger boys ranked sixth among 15 teams while New Richmond’s girls were sixth among 14 teams.

The New Richmond boys don’t have a senior in the varsity lineup. Coach Beth Kelly said the boys are improving rapidly as they figure out the intricacies of running 5,000 meters.

“Experience is what it takes to figure out a 5K,” Kelly said.

The boys continue to see progress throughout the lineup. Dylan Wachter ran a personal best time as the Tigers’ lead runner on Saturday, placing 19th. Even with his progress, the Tigers were able to bring their 1-5 split below a minute. That shows the team-wide progress being made.

“The power of the pack is a unique thing you want on a team,” Kelly said. “They really do work well together. Their personalities and competitiveness are a nice mix.”

Jackson Pearson, Max Fore and Hayden Bradbury finished together, placing 30th, 31st and 32nd. Cole Eastep was the Tigers’ fifth runner, with Mengcha Moua three seconds behind him.

The Tiger girls have been led all season by seniors Mallory Kelly and Lexi Brown and they both ran personal best times at Eau Claire. Another runner rose to their level on Saturday, with freshman Lauren Johnson making a big move. Kelly placed 19th, Johnson 23rd and Brown 25th to give the Tigers a powerful pack of three lead runners. Erika Emerson and Jennah Wilson were the fourth and fifth Tigers, with Amanda Johnson one second behind Wilson.

There will be plenty of competition for the Tigers at Thursday’s conference meet. Coach Kelly said she expects Osceola to be the main competition for the boys title. She said there are several girls squads who could pull out the team title on Thursday, saying St. Croix Central, Prescott and Ellsworth will all challenge the Tigers for the title.

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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