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MBC Cross Country: New Richmond girls, SCC boys are 2018 team champions

The St. Croix Central boys team was a jubilant bunch after it was announced the Panthers had won the conference championship.1 / 5
The Middle Border Conference girls championship team for 2018 consists of (back, l-r) Amanda Johnson, Colette Harrold, Erika Emerson and Maggie Bau; (front) Barb Kling, Kayla Harris and Willa Rogers. 2 / 5
This is the conference championship boys team from St. Croix Central.3 / 5
These are the girls who earned all-conference honors at the 2018 Middle Border Conference meet. 4 / 5
These are the All-MIddle Border Conference boys cross country runners for the 2018 season.5 / 5

Two highly competitive races led to extremely close battles for the team championships at the 2018 Middle Border Conference Cross Country Championships, held Thursday at St. Croix Central High School.

When the boys results were announced, St. Croix Central had edged Osceola for the team championship, winning by a scant three points. 

The girls finish was nearly as close. New Richmond won the team championship with 37 points, followed by Osceola with 47 points and Osceola with 52 points.

St. Croix Central also had both individual championships at the meet. Senior Marie Hamlin ran away from the competition in the second half of the girls race, winning by 40 seconds over second place Lauren Ellefson of Osceola. Central sophomores Cougar Holder and Jakob Eggen raced to the finish line as the top two finishers in the boys race. Holder won the conference championship in 17:37, with Eggen finishing in 17:40.

While the team competitions were both extremely close, the battle for the individual titles was far different. There were a half-dozen different boys who led the meet at some point, with Holder, Eggen and Osceola's David Olson staying in the lead pack until the final moments. Olson placed third, four seconds behind Eggen.

Led by Holder and Eggen, the Panthers were in good position. That was fortified when junior Erik Collins placed fourth. When seniors Riley Hackbarth and Jacob Murtha placed 15th and 16th, it gave the Panthers the points they needed to hold off Osceola.

New Richmond wasn't far behind in the boys race either, placing third with 68 points. The Tigers were led by senior Max Fore, who placed fifth in 17:48. He was followed by the trio of sophomores that includes Cale Bishop in 11th, Tyler Harris in 12th and Max Blader in 13th. Landon Carney was the Tigers' fifth finisher, placing 27th.

The Somerset boys placed sixth in what was an extremely deep field of teams this season. The Spartans were led by sophomore Zach Maitrejean, who placed 20th. Sophomore Thor Sanders was three spots behind him and senior Ben Schmitt placed 25th. Alex DeGeest ran 35th and Tyler Hantsbarger ran 45th to complete the Spartans' top five.

In the girls race, there were girls who tried to stay with Hamlin, but she wasn't going to allow that to happen. She was patient at the start, letting the challengers line themselves up. Then Hamlin one-by-one passed them by. She won the race in 19:28. Joining Hamlin as the Panthers' top five runners were Mya Kizer in fifth place, Sydney Carlson in ninth, Mariah Withuski in 21st and Kourtney Labeause in 23rd.

The conference championship won the by New Richmond girls was the product of a complete team effort, with all seven Tigers finishing among the top 17 girls in the meet. New Richmond was led by the trio of sophomores, with Willa Rogers placing third, Kayla Harris fourth and Barb Kling seventh. Juniors Erika Emerson and Colette Harrold placed 10th and 13th. They were followed by senior Amanda Johnson in 15th and sophomore Maggie Bau in 17th.

The Somerset girls placed sixth in the meet. They were led by freshman Erin Huerta, who ranked 18th. Juniors Kristen Vensland and Liv Hoff placed 26th and 39th, with freshmen Megan Larse, Amanda Bartig and Sam DeGeest in 41st, 45th and 46th.

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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