CROSS COUNTRY: Alayna Franson wins GNC CC title
Hodag girls 4th
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
Among Rhinelander High School junior Alayna Franson’s top cross country finishes this season is now the girls individual Great Northern Conference championship.
Franson won Saturday’s 5,000-meter race at the Nine-Mile County Forest in the Wausau area in 20 minutes, 11.8 seconds, almost 11 seconds ahead of the other two top-three finishers, Lakeland’s Lauren Schilling and Medford’s Franny Seidel.
“The day belonged to Alayna Franson as she won the conference championship and earned the GNC Female Runner of the Year (honor),” said Hodags head coach M.J. Laggis. “She had a great performance and looked smooth and solid the entire race. Alayna has worked hard to get to this point and it was great to see her do it. We are all very proud of her accomplishments.”
RHS’s girls had another junior runner make the All-Conference First Team with Anna Sturzl placing seventh in 20:56.1, edging out Medford’s Lauren Meyer for the final first-team position by half of a second.
“I am very happy that Anna had a big day,” Laggis said. “Anna was running eighth in the last 200 (meters), but she kicked it down and passed the seventh runner and took first-team honors.”
The Hodag girls, who placed fourth in the team standings out of the seven GNC schools, had two seniors and a sophomore, respectively, account for the final three spots that scored in the standings with Carmen Incha, 25th in 23:16.2, Payton Hartman, 28th in 23:25.2, and Claire Bowman, 38th in 24:31.1.
Lakeland won the conference team title with the top score of 38, followed by Medford (54), Mosinee (92), RHS (99), Tomahawk (112), Northland Pines (147) and Antigo (187).
RHS BOYS 6TH
The Hodag boys didn’t have any individual finishers in the top 20 when they placed sixth in the team standings.
Lakeland also won the boys conference title with a score of 25. Northland Pines edged out Medford for second place on a tiebreaker with the sixth finisher, after both teams ended up at 67. Tomahawk placed fourth at 109, followed by Mosinee (124), RHS (130) and Antigo (176).
The top-three boys were also the only three runners to finish in under 17 minutes with Lakeland’s Kavanaugh FitzPatrick winning in 16:27.7, Medford’s Trey Ulrich placing second in 16:47.3 and Lakeland’s Noah Bodewes coming in third in 16:59.1.
The top finish among the Hodag boys came from Markus Johnson, who placed 21st in 18:28.2. Two other RHS runners were a few seconds behind Johnson with Robert Ritchie finishing 22nd in 18:30.8 and Tyler Kolasa ending up 23rd in 18:34.5. The other two Hodag boys whose finishes counted toward the team score included Daniel Ritchie, 30th in 19:03.8, and Bridger Flory, 34th in 19:16.8.
“These guys ran hard and gave a great effort,” Laggis said. “Seniors Robert Ritchie and Tyler Kolasa laid it out there in their last conference race and that is all you can ask for.”
The Hodags’ next race is the Division 2 Sectional this coming Saturday at Waupaca High School.