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Cross country: Tiger girls reach season-long goal

The final meet of the regular season gave the New Richmond cross country teams a great test on Saturday, Oct. 7 when the Tigers ran at the Old Abe Invitational hosted by Eau Claire Memorial.

And the meet also had a couple unique teachable moments.

The meet was especially fulfilling for the New Richmond girls team. The young Tigers set a goal at the start of the season to catch Menomonie, one of the programs the Tigers will need to defeat if they want to reach the WIAA state championships. The Tigers achieved that goal for the first time on Saturday in a stellar fourth place finish. The Tigers finished behind Hudson, Rochester (Minn.) Century and Eau Claire Memorial.

All seven of the top finishers for the Tigers Saturday were either freshmen or sophomores and Coach Beth Kelly said that's the lineup she'll likely use at this Thursday's Middle Border Conference meet. That group of Tigers finished with 138 points, seven points better than Menomonie's total in Saturday's meet. The Tigers were fourth among 15 top level programs.

The girls varsity meet had a bit of a controversy. The lead vehicle took a wrong turn on the course, cutting almost 200 meters of the course. This angered some coaches, who were looking to compare the varsity and JV times to generate the lineups for upcoming races.

The Tigers also had a teachable moment when freshman Barb Kling lost a shoe in the mud of the wet course and finished the race with one shoe. She was still able to be the Tigers' third runner.

"It was a good lesson to pull over and put on your shoe," Kelly instructed her runners if that situation ever happens again.

Freshman Kayla Harris led the Tiger girls by placing 12th.

"Kayla is on a good trajectory. She keeps learning and trying different things," Kelly said.

Willa Rogers was the Tigers' second finisher and Kling was third. Rogers placed 20th and Kling 28th. They were followed by Colette Harrold in 35th, Maggie Bau in 43rd, Sophie Ballard in 44th and Erika Emerson in 56th. Harrold and Emerson are sophomores, the other five Tigers are freshmen.

Max Fore (180) and Chase Chiarle (178) have become fixtures in the Tiger varsity lineup. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

The Tiger boys ranked ninth among 17 teams in their half of the meet. Senior Dylan Wachter was the Tigers' leader again, placing 13th overall. His time of 17:13 was a career record.

Chase Chiarle finished in 39th for the Tigers, with Max Fore 57th, Caleb Anton 61st, Joe Smallidge 71st, John Haasch 72nd and Tyler Harris 81st.

The Middle Border Conference meet will be run this Thursday at the Prescott Intermediate School. Both Tiger teams are hoping to win MBC titles. The Tiger girls and St. Croix Central have been waging close battles all season. The Tiger boys have a big challenge ahead in trying to catch a talented Osceola team.

"We have to compete better, smarter against Osceola," Kelly said. "I have confidence, if they run their best, we can beat Osceola."

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 more than 30 years.

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