CROSS COUNTRY: Hodags 10th at Smiley Invitational
Alayna Franson 7th
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
The Rhinelander High School cross country teams were in action Saturday at the Tribute Golf Course in Wausau for the Smiley Invitational, where both the Hodag girls and boys varsity teams placed 10th when listed among the “Division 1 small” schools.
“Smiley had a great field of teams competing as always,” said RHS head coach M.J. Laggis. “On the girls side, Alayna Franson had a really good race. She (finished in 20 minutes, 12.92 seconds) and dropped time from her last race at Smiley.”
Franson’s time was seventh-fastest in the grouping of 13 teams designated as “Division 1 small.” Pulaski’s Annika Linzmeier placed first in 19:04.03.
The Hodags’ four other girls whose finishes counted toward the team score included Anna Sturzl (45th in 22:22.12), Gracie Quinn (62nd in 23:24.97), Payton Hartman (72nd in 24:15.2) and Abby Krueger (78th in 25:10.26).
“The gap from our top girl to our fifth girl is still too much to score effectively as a team,” Laggis said. “We have a 4:58 gap between them and we have to continue to try and shrink that. Having said that, we are happy with the time that many of our girls continue to drop. We have to continue that thread.”
Waunakee had the top team score of 83, followed by La Crosse Central (90), Pulaski (94), River Falls (97), and Lakeland (116) rounding out the top five. RHS’s score was 258 for 10th out of the 12 teams with at least five finishers to score in the standings.
BRIDGER FLORY 26TH
Lakeland topped the “Division 1 small” boys standings at 64, followed by La Crosse Central (96), River Falls (109), DeForest (116) and Oregon (139) in the top five. RHS’s score was 232 for 10th in the 14-team field.
La Crosse Central’s Sam Pinkowski had the top individual finish of 16:13.79.
The Hodag boys didn’t have anyone finish in the top 25. The team’s best finish came from sophomore Bridger Flory, who ended up 26th in 18:06.91.The other four RHS boys whose finishes counted toward the team score included Robert Ritchie (45th in 19:04.41), Markus Johnson (48th in 19:10.19), Daniel Ritchie (53rd in 19:14.5) and Tyler Kolasa (60th in 19:21.47).
“Our boys from the second spot through fifth are all within 17 seconds of each other,” Laggis said. “It’s a great cluster finish helping us score, but we need to get that group to collectively continue to drop time and peak at the end (of the season).
“Earlier in the season, our second through fifth runners were finishing in the 21:00’s. Now we are in the 19:00’s, so the numbers don’t lie, we continue to improve. But we need to drop these times lower yet by mid October.”
RHS’s next meet is Thursday at Sugar Camp Elementary School.