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Pall cast over St. Croix Central cross country team at 2016 MBC meet

The Panther pack of (l-r) Michael Sauer, Derek Rock and Will Spitzmueller get set to pass an Ellsworth runner in the early stages of the Middle Border Conference race.

There will be little fondness when the St. Croix Central runners look back at the 2016 Middle Border Conference cross country championships, held last Thursday at Osceola.

The collapse of Panther lead girls runner Olivia Moll in the later stages of the race made the final results of the day an afterthought for the Panthers. Moll led during the early stages of the girls race and ran second through much of the race. Late in the race, she began to struggle. She collapsed at the exit of the campground that the course winds through. Two of the Panther coaches were the first people to reach her. They immediately contacted the race trailer and she was hauled to the finish line, with her older sister, Lauren, caring for her. She was taken by ambulance to the Osceola hospital.

Central coach Bill Emery said blood tests found she had a low blood sugar level. He said Moll was running with her team’s success on her mind.

“She wanted to do everything she could points-wise to help win the team meet,” Emery said.

The rest of the girls had to run by Moll as medical personnel was treating her.

“They were pretty torn up, watching a family member go down,” Emery said.

The good news is that Moll was able to attend practice the following day. Emery said she hopes to run at this Friday’s WIAA Division 2 sectional meet.

With Moll dropping out and the other girls seeing her down, the team results faded, with the Panthers ending up in fourth place. Sophomore Claire Moll, Olivia’s younger sister, was the only Panther girl to earn all-conference honors, placing 13th. She was followed by Margaryta Chuloy in 16th, Courtney Carlson in 19th, Maria Withuski in 21st and Kourtney Labeause in 32nd.

The boys race was run first on Thursday and the Panther boys put in an excellent showing, earning third place in the team standings. Senior Micheal Sauer put together his best race of the season, moving up to fourth place to earn first team All-MBC honors. Junior Will Spitzmueller placed 12th to make the all-conference second team.

Erik Collins was the Panthers’ third runner, placing 15th. He was the highest placing freshman in the boys race. Juniors Derek Rock and Spencer Goodwin were the Panthers’ fourth and fifth runners.

With Sauer as the only senior in the boys lineup, Emery sees the Panthers being a bigger factor in the race next year

The Panthers will run this Friday at the Division 2 sectional meet at the UW-Barron County campus in Rice Lake. The boys race is at 4 p.m. with the girls starting at 4:45 p.m.

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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