Girls run to first in MenomonieThe Wildcat girls cross country team took first at the 33rd annual Menomonie Relays Saturday while the boys ran to a third place team finish.
By: Bob Burrows, River Falls Journal
The Wildcat girls cross country team took first at the 33rd annual Menomonie Relays Saturday while the boys ran to a third place team finish.
Nine teams took part in the event, including all seven Big Rivers Conference teams along with Superior and Tartan (Minn.)
The Wildcat girls edged Tartan by just four seconds to claim the top spot. The Cats came in with a combined time of 1 hour, 22 minutes, 42 seconds, paced by senior captain Ashley Brown’s second place individual time of 15:54, 13 second behind Jordan Kelch of Menomonie.
“Ashley ran a great race,” first-year Wildcat coach Pat Lorentz said. “I know Ashley really wanted to win this one, but she ran a great race, nine seconds faster than she did last year, and put us in good position to place well in the meet.”
Freshman Aislinn Pomfret was the second Wildcat across the finish line in 16:26, followed by sophomore Laura Anderson in 16:30, freshman Natalie Powell in 16:48 and sophomore Katie Berndt in 17:04. The top five River Falls’ times were separated by just 1:10.
“Anytime you can get your top five runners across in about one minute you are going to have good results,” Lorentz said.
Junior Morgan VanHeukelom finished in 17:13 and junior Monica Morgan in 17:51 to round out the Wildcat lineup.
“This team is a perfect mix of experienced upperclassmen and hungry freshman,” Lorentz noted.
On the boys side, The Wildcats finished third behind Hudson and Eau Claire Memorial. Senior Colin Rogers led the way with a second place individual time of 16:52, six seconds behind winner Tyler Heinz of Eau Claire Memorial.
“You know Colin came into the season in awesome shape,” Lorentz said. “He had a great summer of training and has set himself up as one of the premier runners in the conference. I expect great things from him this season.”
Junior David Ritter was the second Wildcat across the finish line in 18:28, followed by junior Patrick Keicher in 18:42, junior Casey Schellhorn in 18:44 and sophomore Ethan Genco in 18:55.
Sophomore Cole Comer finished in 19:08 and freshman Steffen Nielsen in 19:20 while sophomore Garret Williams posted a time of 19:56.
“The men did everything they could,” Lorentz said. “It’s a relatively inexperienced team with only Rogers and Ritter spending significant time at the varsity level last season. They work hard in practice and leave it all out on the course on race day. I can’t ask for much more than that.”
The Cats will return to action Saturday at the 52nd annual Smiley Invite in Wausau. Despite the prospect of facing schools with considerably larger enrollments, Lorentz said he likes the Wildcats’ chances.
“I don’t want to make any predictions, but is we run like we did at Menomonie, we should be able to hold our own, even against the big schools,” he said.