The excitement level around the New Richmond cross country teams took another step up on Saturday when the Tigers competed at the Menomonie Relays.
The Tiger girls placed third among 10 teams. The Tiger boys ended up tenth, but the boys field was closely packed and the Tigers were less than four minutes out of fourth place.
This is a meet where the 1 and 2 runners from each team run in one race, the 3-4-5 runners in another and the 6-7-8 in another, so the runners are competing against their equals from other teams.
New Richmond's girls have been turning heads and they grabbed the attention of every coach on Saturday. Five of the top seven Tiger girls were freshmen and the Tigers didn't have a senior among the eight runners in the girls field.
"They are getting noticed," Tiger coach Beth Kelly said about the girls team. "We're progressing at the perfect pace."
Kelly said the girls are getting dual experience in a meet like this, as they learn to compete at the varsity level, and learning how they compare to the top Division 1 teams in the area. Hudson convincingly won the girls meet, but the Tigers were just over a minute behind second place Menomonie.
Tiger freshman Kayla Harris ran a career-best time of 20:34 to be the team's top finisher on Saturday. Colette Harrold also ran a PR, finishing in 21:56 as the Tigers' fifth runner. Willa Rogers, Barb Kling Amanda Johnson, Maggie Bau, Sophie Ballard and Lauren Johnson were also varsity finishers for the Tigers on Saturday.
The meet also got the Tigers another chance to compete against Middle Border Conference rival St. Croix Central. This is setting up as a great matchup for the MBC meet. The Tigers finished just 22 seconds ahead of Central.
The New Richmond-St. Croix Central matchup is also setting up to be interesting for the boys race. Central finished just 14 seconds ahead of New Richmond's boys in Saturday's meet.
Dylan Wachter led the Tigers with a time of 17:55. Chase Chiarle made a big move forward to finish as the Tigers' second runner in 18:51. Coach Kelly said Cale Bishop and Andrew Kilabarda also performed well for the boys team.
The Tigers' next meet will be on Saturday, Sept. 23, when they run at Milaca, Minn.