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Somerset's Anya Swanson to run at state cross country for third time after winning sectional race

Somerset junior Anya Swanson (1179) went through the first phase of the sectional race in the middle of the pack, but she soon was in the lead and pulling away from all her challengers.

There’s nothing stopping Somerset junior Anya Swanson.

The competition keeps getting tougher and she keeps winning. Swanson remained unbeaten for the season by winning the WIAA Division 2 sectional race at Rice Lake last Friday. With her victory, Swanson qualifies for her third straight WIAA state championship meet. The state meet will be held on Saturday at The Ridges Golf Club in Wisconsin Rapids.

Swanson was the only Spartan who was able to advance to the state tournament, though nearly ever Somerset runner posted their best time of the season at the sectional meet.

Swanson ran her typical race at the sectional meet. She stayed back in the pack for the first 1,000 meters, then rapidly moved up to take the lead. Soon she was running alone. She ended with a winning time of 19:08, which was 31 seconds ahead of second place finisher, Ashland senior Amy Wallis.

Last year, Swanson finished 14th at the state meet. She finished 89th as a freshman. Somerset coach Abby Christensen said she’s hoping Swanson can move into the top 10 this year. It’s quite a challenge. Seven of the top 10 finishers in last year’s Division 2 state race are returning.

“I think she’ll have to race to do it, but I think (a top 10 finish) is totally doable,” said Christensen.

The Spartan girls placed 13th among the 15 teams at the sectional meet. Brycen Chladek and Kristen Vensland placed 80th and 82nd. Anna Cheaney got under the 30-minute mark for the first time in her career, finishing in 29:01. Christensen had high praise for senior Shelly Schmitt, who ran her final race.

“She’s an awesome leader. She’s the most determined girl out there,” Christensen said.

Somerset’s boys made a big improvement in this meet, ranking 11th among the 15 teams, which included beating Middle Border Conference rival Baldwin-Woodville. The Spartans were led by junior Seth Erickson. He placed 24th, ranking 11th among the MBC runners in the race.

Senior Tanner Getschel gave everything he had, as always, to place 51st as the Spartans’ second runner. Freshmen Tyler Hantsbarger and Alex DeGeest continued their move up, placing 58th and 70th. Jacob Crotty was the Spartans’ fifth runner, placing 86th.

“All the boys were awesome. They jumped out and raced,” Christensen said.

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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