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Cross Country: Runners gear up for postseason

Wildcat cross country coach Kari DeLuca said the next couple of weeks are going to be "awesome but pretty intense."

The Wildcats have the Big Rivers Conference Championship Meet this Saturday, Oct. 13, at Chippewa Falls, and the WIAA Sectional Saturday, Oct. 20, in Menomonie. After that is the WIAA State Meet Saturday, Oct. 27 in Wisconsin Rapids.

After looking at the Wildcat boys' performance at the Old Abes Invitational last Saturday, where they finished second out of 16 teams, DeLuca could hardly contain her excitement.

"The next couple weeks are going to be awesome but pretty intense," she said. "It's going to be a close battle between us, Hudson and Memorial for the BRC championship and to get a spot at state. We haven't been this competitive in years on the guys' side. It feels good to be in the same conversation with some of the top teams in the section. But we also know we need to have our best races in these next couple of weeks if we want a chance."

Three Wildcats posted sub-17 minute times Saturday to take three of the top six spots as River Falls finished just 11 points behind team champion Eau Claire Memorial's 39.

Sophomore Grant Magnuson led the way with a third place time of 16 minutes, 41.1 seconds and junior Mason Shea was fourth in 16:45.8 while junior Joey Madsen finished sixth in 16:51.8.

Senior Rav Veness wasn't far out of the top ten with a 13th place time of 17:24.7 while sophomore Brandon Nelson was 24th in 17:43.1.

"They raced really strong," DeLuca said. "Joey Madsen had a phenomenal race. His 16:50 was huge for us. Senior Rav Veness also had his best race so far this season for us."

Rounding out the Wildcat boys' lineup were junior Jason Franzwa in 35th place with a time of 18:02.4 and junior Louis Olson 40th in 18:12.8.

On the girls' side, sophomore Allison Weissinger paced the Wildcats with a 17th place time of 20:19.9 as River Falls finished sixth in the 14-team field.

Senior Calla Dexheimer placed 20th with a time of 20:24.5 and freshman Morgan Prigge was 35th in 21:04.4 while senior Elsa Putzier finished 42nd in 21:16.2 and junior Meggie Weideman was 51st in 21:38.4.

Sophomore Kaya Hanson finished 60th with a time of 22:27.1 and junior Hayley Lindaman was 70th in 22:37.3.

Hudson edged Menomonie by one point to win the girls' team title with 79 while River Falls was sixth with 165.

"The girls are making lots of gains this year," deLuca noted. "They have done a great job of improving each race. It's fun to watch."

This week's BRC Championships will be held at Lake Wissota Golf Course beginning at 10 a.m.

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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