Tigers of all ages are ready to run
Runners of all ages are going to make an impact for the New Richmond cross country teams this fall.
The New Richmond girls had five freshmen in the varsity lineup in the season-opening meet on Saturday, Aug. 26 in Eau Claire and that young group did extremely well. The Tiger boys had at least one runner from all four classes competing in the varsity lineup on Saturday and the Tiger boys also gave a solid performance.
The New Richmond girls tied for third place, losing in a tie breaker, in Saturday's Husky Invitational hosted by Eau Claire North. The Tigers were competing against some of the powers of the area. Hudson and Menomonie took the top two spots in the results and the Tiger girls tied Eau Claire Memorial.
The Tiger boys placed eighth, but they were just 11 points behind reigning Middle Border Conference champion Osceola.
New Richmond coach Beth Kelly said she expected that the girls team would see a huge makeover this season, based on the success this year's freshmen had in middle school cross country. Kelly said the girls put in a great deal of work over the summer and they were all prepared to make the step to high school competition.
It showed when freshmen Willa Rogers placed ninth, Barb Kling 11th and Kayla Harris 14th. Hudson was the only other team to place three runners among the top 15 girls finishers.
The rest of the varsity lineup was a mixture of classes. Sophomore Colette Harrold placed 34th, freshman Sophie Ballard was 39th, freshman Maggie Bau was 40th and junior Amanda Johnson was 47th.
Coach Kelly said there are also a number of other girls capable for pushing for spots in the varsity lineup. Among them are Lauren Johnson, Erika Emerson and Jennah Wilson.
With so many younger runners in key positions, Kelly said the coaches are being careful not to overtax the girls' physical capabilities.
"Staying healthy will be a key component with the girls being that young," Kelly said.
Kelly said the girls have high aspirations for the season. She said closing the gap between the top three girls and the rest of the pack will be pivotal. She said more girls will need to climb into the 20-21 minute range for the girls to compete with the upper level Division 1 teams in the area.
The Tiger boys showed strong possibilities in Saturday's race. That's led by MBC defending individual champion Dylan Wachter, who placed 19th. Juniors Max Fore and Caleb Anton look considerably improved since last season, placing 27th and 39th. New additions sophomore Chase Chiarle and freshman Tyler Harris were the Tigers' fourth and fifth runners, placing 46th and 56th. Wachter, Fore, Chiarle and Harris all ranked among the top 10 runners in their class at Saturday's meet. Senior John Haasch and sophomore Andrew Kilibarda were the Tigers' sixth and seventh varsity runners on Saturday.
Kelly said the Tiger boys are setting their focus on Osceola in their planning for a conference title. She said both conference races should be close, with a number of teams showing improvement since last season.
The Tigers will be competing again this Thursday in a meet that's new to their schedule. The Tigers will be competing for the first time at the St. Croix Central Invitational on Thursday, Aug. 31.