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Twice is nice for Wildcat girls

The members of the Big Rivers Conference champion Wildcat girls cross country team include, from left, Monica Morgan, Paige Skorseth, Ellie Nelson, Laura Anderson, Hannah Gribble, Aislinn Pomfret, Lucy Ramquist and Natalie Powell. Submitted photo

Freshman Paige Skorseth took home the individual title and junior Lucy Ramquist finished second to lead the Wildcat girls' team to the Big Rivers Conference Cross Country Championship Saturday in Rice Lake.

In all, four Cats finished in the top 10 to help the girls to their second straight BR title.

River Falls clinched the championship with a total of 32 points, 20 ahead of second place Eau Claire Memorial. Menomonie was third with 81.

On the boys' side, Hudson won its fifth straight conference championship with 35 points followed by Eau Claire Memorial with 65 and River Falls with 68. The Wildcats hadn't finished within 30 points of Eau Claire Memorial all season.

Skorseth's first place time of 14 minutes, 59 seconds is the third fastest time in Wildcat girls' history while Ramquist's runner-up time of 15:02 is the fifth fastest.

Wildcat head coach Pat Lorentz said he had mixed feelings when he saw Skorseth and Ramquist heading towards the finish line together.

"At first, when I saw Paige and Lucy break away I thought great, we'll take first and second," he said. "My initial excitement turned to concern quickly though because I didn't want these two girls to kill each other trying to win the race. Our biggest meets are still to come."

Sophomore Natalie Powell was the third Wildcat across the finish line in seventh place overall with a time of 15:35, breaking her personal best time by 30 seconds. Sophomore Aislinn Pomfret gave River Falls four of the top 10 finishers with a 10th place time of 15:54.

Junior captain Laura Anderson rounded out the Wildcat scoring with a 12th place time of 16:02. Other Wildcat finishers included senior captain Monica Morgan in 16th place in 16:05, sophomore Hannah Gribble in 27th in 16:39, and freshman Ellie Nelson in 30th in 16:51.

The Wildcat boys' meanwhile had two runners in the top 10 on their way to a third place team finish.

Junior captain Ethan Genco led the way with an eighth place time of 17:05 while senior captain David Ritter finished 10th in 17:14.

"Ethan really went for it today," Lorentz said. "I call David 'The Diesel' because he doesn't have great speed, but once he gets warmed up he can just go and go. David really got that diesel engine going and he was burning it black all along the course today."

Sophomore Shae Taylor finished 14th overall with a personal best time of 17:26, just two seconds ahead of senior captain Casey Schellhorn, who finished 15th in 17:28.

"Taylor and Schellhorn held off a couple of guys in the final 100 meters of the race that really helped our team keep the pressure on Memorial," Lorentz said.

Senior Patrick Keicher placed 21st with a time of 17:47 and sophomore Salvador Bastien finished 24th in 18:00 while junior Evan Miller was 32nd in 18:18 and sophomore Steffen Nielsen 34th in 18:27.

"It was a tremendous effort," Lorentz said. "We had Memorial on the ropes, we just couldn't quite put them away."

The Cats will compete at the WIAA Sectional Saturday in La Crosse.