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Cross Country: Cats run tough at Faribault

Now that the fun is over, it's time to get down to business.

Two weeks after the Wildcat cross country teams opened the season with their annual Extreme Meet through and across the South Fork of the Kinnickinnic River, the Cats competed on dry land for the first time at the Faribault (Minn.) Invitational Friday, Sept. 7.

As the only Wisconsin school competing at the meet, the Wildcat boys finished sixth out of 18 teams while the girls placed 12th out of 17 squads.

"I can say all the kids had a tremendous effort on the course on Friday," head coach Kari DeLuca said. "We look at this as our jumping off point for the season. We were the only Wisconsin team at this meet and the meet is made up of some pretty large Minnesota teams. We knew it would be a good challenge for us to race against some teams that we don't normally race."

Junior Mason Shea paced the Wildcat boys with an 11th place time of 17 minutes, 4.8 seconds on the 5,000 meter course while sophomore teammate Grant Magnuson was close behind in 13th place in 17:14.1.

"Both those boys really tested their limits today," DeLuca said. "They went after it, both went into the race really wanting to place in that top 20 group."

Junior Joey Madson finished 42nd in the 129-runner field with a time of 17:59.6 and junior Jason Franzwa was 43rd in 18:04.9 while sophomore rounded out the Cats' top five in 62nd place in 18:26.1. Senior Richard Veness finished 64th overall in 18:38.5 and junior Louis Olson was 84th in 19:12.3.

St. Paul Highland Park won the boys' team title with 50 points while the Wildcats finished two points behind Stillwater in sixth place with 171.

Senior Calla Dexheimer was the top finisher for the Wildcat girls with a 26th place time of 20:49.9.

"Things clicked for Calla this race," DeLuca said. "She ran smart and she ran hard. That's what we needed from her this race and she came through. It was great to see."

Sophomore Allison Weissinger finished 47th overall with a time of 21:36.6 and senior Elsa Putzier was 65th in 22:26.1 while freshman Morgan Prigge placed 79th in 22:57.9 and junior Hayley Lindaman rounded out the Cats' top five in 81st place with a time of 23:02.3.

"Freshman Morgan Prigge has been a solid addition to our varsity squad," DeLuca noted.

Next up for the Wildcats is another big meet-- the Smiley Invitational in Wausau this Saturday, Sept. 15. DeLuca said she is looking forward to seeing continued improvement from both teams.

"We know we have some gains to make in certain areas if we want to compete come conference time," she said.

Bob Burrows

Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.

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