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Griak Invitational pushes New Richmond, St. Croix Central runners

The strong lineup of the New Richmond girls cross country team includes Sophie Ballard (front), with Amanda Johnson and Maggie Bau in the background. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia

The cross country coaches of the New Richmond and St. Croix Central squads have been taking similar approaches recently.

The Tigers and Panthers ran against each other, and several hundred other runners, when they competed at the Roy Griak Invitational at the University of Minnesota on Saturday. The Tigers and Panthers had run against each other the previous Saturday at the Milaca Mega Meet in Milaca, Minn.

Saturday's meet was another instance of the top programs from the Middle Border Conference competing against each other, because Osceola was also running at the Griak meet. Central coach Bill Emery said it's nearly impossible to correlate the results from the Griak meet to what will happen at the Middle Border Conference meet, which is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 11, at Central. He said the sheer volume of runners in each race at Griak has an effect on the runners, because they aren't able to run their normal races due to the packs of runners. All three MBC teams ran in the Maroon races on Saturday. There were 487 runners in the boys Maroon race and 431 runners in the girls Maroon race.

Emery said that by Monday he was already fielding phone calls from college coaches who saw Central senior Marie Hamlin run on Saturday. Hamlin ranked third among the 431 girls in the Maroon race. She was the top finisher among the Wisconsin runners in the race, topping such standouts as Brooke Jaworski of Wausau West. Emery said Hamlin was among the leaders in a race that featured a number of nationally-known runners.

The Panther girls placed 16th among 49 teams in the Maroon race and Central's boys were 18th among 53 teams in their Maroon race.

Sophomore Mya Kizer placed 42nd for the Panthers. Sydney Carlson ran 117th, Kourtney Labeause was 143rd and Claire Moll was 169th, with teammate Mariah Withuski seconds behind Moll. Emery said he was pleased with Moll's showing in this meet.

The Panther boys were led by sophomore Jakob Eggen, whose 18-minute time placed 49th. Cougar Holder placed 69th, Erik Collins was 100th, Jacob Murtha was 159th and Riley Hackbarth was 176th as the top five Panther runners.

New Richmond's boys put together an excellent showing Saturday, placing 10th in the Maroon meet. That was led by Tyler Harris and Cale Bishop, who placed 37th and 39th. Max Fore placed 61st, Max Blader was 98th and Caleb Anton was 133th as the Tigers put together a strong top five runners on Saturday.

Leading the Tiger girls on Saturday was sophomore Willa Rogers, who placed 40th. Joining her in the team's top five finishers were Barb Kling in 94th, Colette Harrold in 114th, Maggie Bau in 126th and Amanda Johnson in 147th.

The New Richmond runners will next be in action this Saturday, running in Eau Claire. The St. Croix Central runners are done for the regular season. The Panthers won't compete again until they host the conference meet on Oct. 11.

Dave Newman

Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.

(715) 426-1051
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