Wildcat runners get extremeThe Wildcat Cross Country team kicked off the season with their annual Extreme Meet last Thursday on the campus of UW-River Falls, and a soggy group of Cats turned in respectable times on the course that includes a trip through the South Fork of the Kinnickinnic River.
By: Bob Burrows, River Falls Journal
The Wildcat Cross Country team kicked off the season with their annual Extreme Meet last Thursday on the campus of UW-River Falls, and a soggy group of Cats turned in respectable times on the course that includes a trip through the South Fork of the Kinnickinnic River.
Nineteen teams from across Wisconsin and Minnesota took part in the event, making this year the largest Extreme Meet in history. A total of 756 runners took part in four races that started and ended at the UWRF intramural fields.
The Wildcat boys’ paced by Trent Powell’s third place time of 18 minutes, 38 seconds, finished second in their race while the girls, with Paige Skorseth and Annie Frisbie finishing second and third, respectively, placed third overall.
Spring Valley's Breanna Colbenson won the girls’ race for the second straight year with a time of 21:15. Wildcat senior captain Skorseth and sophomore Frisbie chased Colbenson all the way to the finish line finishing in 21:22 and 21:31, respectively.
“Colbenson is one of the top runners in the state, so I was really happy to see Paige and Annie keep her so close to them,” Wildcat coach Pat Lorentz said. “We are going to be really tough in the one and two spots on the girls’ side this year with Skorseth and Frisbie. I think we will have a good chance to put two girls in before most teams get their number one girl across the finish line."
The Wildcat's three, four, and five runners were only four seconds apart from each other. Sophomore Kylee MaClain, freshman Taylor Lindaman, and senior captain Ellie Nelson finished with times 25:41, 25:42, and 25:45, good enough for 34th, 35th, and 38th place.
“I think it is great that our three to five runners were so close together,” Lorentz said. “The three girls work well together, but the gap from Frisbie to the other three girls is quite large. We need to work at closing that gap, ideally, I would like to see us get that down to about 90 seconds.”
Also competing in the girls varsity race were junior Reilly Myklebust 27:32 (84th), freshman Shayna Ziriax 27:34 (87th), sophomore Lindsey Young 28:47 (109th), junior Christa Anderson 28:50 (113th), and sophomore Lana Rubinstein 29:21 (124th). A total of 160 girls finished the varsity race.
In the girls’ team results, Forrest Lake, Minn. won the meet with 85 points, Wausau West took second with 99 points, while River Falls finished third with 112 points.
In the boys’ race, three runners broke away early with River Falls’ junior captain Powell among them. Powell would go on to take third overall, with a time of 18:38. Zach Benning of Hastings, Minn. won in 18:19.
“Trent is in great shape right now, he did a great job hitting all of his summer training and I think he is going to put up some huge results this year,” Lorentz said.
Coming in second for the Wildcats was senior captain Jacob Putzier, who finished 11th overall with a time of 20:18 despite losing his spikes in the South Fork on the second lap through.
“I think Putzier has to get the tough man award for today,” Lorentz said. “I don't know how he was able to get through those rough trails and over rocks and through water with no shoes on his feet. However he did it, we really needed that performance from him to keep us up in the top two overall.”
Senior captain Mitch Lenneman was third for the Wildcats with a time of 21:13, good enough for 20th place. The Wildcats’ top five was rounded out by junior Tom Ramquist 21:27 (23rd) and junior Curtis Hanson 21:30 (24th).
Other Wildcats boys’ finishers were junior Gabe Nelson 22:14 (46th), freshman Chris Anderson 22:51 (60th), freshman AJ Steffl 22:53 (61st), junior Liam Danger 22:59 (64th), and junior Will Woodward 23:42 (83rd). A total of 152 boys competed.
Forest Lake took the boys’ team title with 65 points while the Wildcats were second with 81 and Red Wing finished third with 87.
Lorentz has high hopes for both the Wildcat boys’ and girls’ runners this year.
“On the women's side I think it will come down to us and Hudson,” he said. “On the men's side I think it is going to be a shootout between us and Eau Claire Memorial. I can see us going to conference and sweeping it like last year, but I can also see us getting to conference and not winning a conference title on either side. That is high school sports for you. Either way, we should be in the mix.”
The Cats will compete at a 30-team meet in Marshfield this Saturday, Sept. 1.