Girls good as goldYou don’t win cross country meets by one point. You win baseball games, or football games, or basketball games by one point. But cross country?
By: Bob Burrows, River Falls Journal
You don’t win cross country meets by one point. You win baseball games, or football games, or basketball games by one point. But cross country?
Yet that’s exactly what the Wildcat girls did Saturday in Menomonie when they edged Hudson by a single point to win the Big Rivers Cross Country Championship. The Raiders were three-time defending conference champs.
“It’s very rare to see a cross country race decided by a single point,” Wildcat head coach Pat Lorentz said. “Every one of our women did exactly what they had to do to make this victory possible.”
River Falls finished with 47 points edging Hudson’s total of 48. The gap between the Cats’ top finisher and fifth place scorer was an astounding 15.6 seconds. Hudson, by comparison, had a 57.3 second gap between their top five runners.
“In my 13 years of being an athlete and coach in the sport I don’t think I have ever seen such a close spread from the number one to the number five,” Lorentz said.
Senior captain Ashley Brown paced the Cats with a fifth place time of 16 minutes, 5.6 seconds. Freshman Aislinn Pomfret was second across the finish line in seventh place overall with a time of 16:11.8 while sophomore Laura Anderson was right behind in eighth in 16:12.4. Junior Monica Morgan finished 13th with a time of 16:21.1 and freshman Natalie Powell placed 14th in 16:21.2 to round out the Wildcat scoring.
The top five Wildcats received plenty of help from their teammates, who all passed opponents over the final 100 meters to eat up position. Junior Morgan VanHeukelom finished 28th with a time of 17:01.6 while sophomore Katie Berndt placed 36th in 17:22.0.
“You can tell these girls are running for each other, unwilling to slow their paces even when they are exhausted,” Lorentz said. “It truly is a special group. I can’t even begin to put into words how proud I am of these women.”
Brown and Pomfret both earned spots on the All-BRC first team while Anderson, Morgan and Powell were named to the second team.
The Wildcat boys finished third at the conference meet with a total of 87 points. Hudson won the boys title with 34 followed by Eau Claire Memorial with 39.
“The men threw caution to the wind and ran a very aggressive first mile,” Lorentz said. “They could have run more conservative but it is awfully hard to run great times without taking some risks. I think for the most part it worked out pretty well for us.”
Senior captain Colin Rogers led the Cats with a fourth place time of 17:10.5.
“Colin had an off day,” Lorentz said. He is better that his time and place showed. We will regroup this week and have him ready to rip at sections.”
Sophomore Ethan Genco was the second Wildcat across the finish line in 14th place overall with a time of 17:58.4 while junior David Ritter finished 22nd in 18:16.7, freshman Steffen Nielsen was 23rd in 18:18.6 and junior Casey Schellhorn placed 24th in 18:20.3.”
Genco and Nielsen really stepped it up for us,” Lorentz said. “Both guys had huge personal records.”
Sophomore Shae Taylor and added a 29th place time of 18:50.9 and sophomore Garrett Williams finished 35th in 19:14.9 to round out the Cats’ lineup.
Rogers earned a spot on the All-BRC first team while Genco was named to the second team.
Next up for the Cats is the WIAA sectional meet Saturday in La Crosse.
“Realistically, six of the 12 teams at the sectional meet have a chance to make it to state,” Lorentz said about the girls’ competition. “It is shaping up to be a real dog fight. I expect it to be painfully close, and if we run the best races that we can, our women should certainly be in the mix.
“On the men’s side, I think if we can finish in the top half that would be a good result for us,” he added. “I look for Colin Rogers to make it to state as an individual.”