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Panthers not afraid of the big schools

St. Croix Central junior Claire Moll (580) continued her string of strong performances in Saturday's race. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

Big schools? Bring 'em on.

The St. Croix Central cross country team isn't threatened by teams from big schools. The Panthers know that tough competition makes them better. That's why they'll face Division 1 competition in more than half of their meets this season.

Such was the case when the Panthers ran at the New Richmond Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 30. The Panther girls placed fourth and the boys fifth among the nine schools at the meet. But when you consider Hudson, Menomonie and Rice Lake were at the meet, along with most of the best MIddle Border Conference programs, then you realize this was major league competition.

"I don't want to shy away from competition," Central coach Bill Emery explained. "That's not how you get better."

Emery said finishing in the upper half of a meet of this strength shows the team is doing things right. The Panther girls had five of the top 23 finishers in their race. That was again led by senior Liv Moll, who ran right with some of the best competition in the area to place third. Freshman Courtney Carlson made another big step forward to place 15th. Claire Moll, Mya Kizer and Marie Hamlin finished 21st to 23rd. Mariah Withuski was close behind, placing 31st.

For the Panther boys, the big news was a sophomore and a freshman were both able to finish under 18 minutes. Erik Collins and Cougar Holder finished at 17:55 and 17:56, to rank 12th and 13th in the race. Another sophomore, Josh Burgess, was the Panthers' third finisher, placing 29th in 18:39.

Seniors Spencer Goodwin and Will Spitzmueller were the fourth and fifth Panthers to cross the line. Goodwin placed 34th and Spitzmueller 36th. Freshman Micah Larsen placed 48th.

The Panthers don't run again until they compete at the Middle Border Conference meet at Prescott on Thursday, Oct. 12.

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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