Despite the Rhinelander High School cross country team finished near the back of the pack on Saturday at the Hatchet Invite, they still managed to have three senior harriers finish in the top-15. The Hodags not only had to battle the rainy conditions, but several harriers were battling illness at the Edgewater Country Club in Tomahawk.
The RHS boys' finished seventh out the 10-team field, while the girls' placed eighth out of 11 teams. Seniors Alayna Franson, Anna Sturzl, and Markus Johnson all earned top-15 finishes on the day to lead the Hodags.
Lakeland girls' and boys' won in each division. The Thunderbird boys' finished with 45 points and were followed by Phillips (75 points), Tomahawk (101 points), Mosinee (130 points), and Chequamegon (134 points). The Rhinelander boys' with 203 points in seventh place, finished ahead of Antigo Pembine, and Crandon.
On the girls' side, the Thunderbirds were the clear winners placing all six varsity runners in the top-15 and finishing with 28 points. The Hatchets girls' were a distant runner-up with 104 points. Mosinee (108 points), Chequamegon (111 points), and Ashland (122 points) rounded out the top five. The lady Hodags had 139 points for eighth place and finished ahead of Antigo, Laona/Wabeno, and Crandon.
Alayna Franson was the top Rhinelander harrier and would record her fifth runner-up finish this season. Once again, Franson finished behind Lakeland sophomore Ashley Peterson.
The two remained close in the opening mile, but nearing the halfway point Peterson started to create separation with approximately 15 seconds ahead of Franson. From there Peterson had the stronger kick and clocked in with the winning time of 19 minutes, 12.39 seconds. Finishing nearly 44 seconds behind, Franson clocked in at 19:56.12.
Fellow senior Sturzl was Rhinelander's second-best finisher and placed eighth overall. She clocked in at 21:12:49. Freshman Abbie Henrichs finished in the middle of the pack in 34th at 23:04.90. Sophomore Valeria Dalka (42nd), junior Allie Fugle (53rd), and sophomore Jenna Younker (54th) rounded out the varsity girls' scores.
On the boys' side of action, Markus Johnson was the lone Hodag to finish in the top-15. He finished with a time of 18:10.72, good enough for 13th place overall.
Sophomore Abe Laggis (41st) and freshman JC Adams (44th) finished in the middle of the pack. While freshman Jacob Weddle (49th), sophomore Daniel Ritchie (56th), senior Mathew Herman (60th), and sophomore Levi Smith (63rd) rounded out the RHS varsity boys'.
The Hodags will be back in action for the Great Northern Conference meet on Saturday held at Northland Pines High School in Eagle River, starting at 11:00AM.
The Rhinelander High School boys' cross country team finished in fifth place out of the six-team field on Tuesday evening at the Northland Pines Invite. While the girls' portion of the race was cancelled nearing the two-mile mark after lightning was seen.
With a brief delay due to the weather, they were able to get the boys' race in before weather struck. Medford finish first in the boys' division with 30 points. Phillips (56 points), Northland Pines (69 points), and Antigo (104 points) rounded out the top four positions. RHS in fifth place had 116 points and only finished ahead of Crandon (146 points).
The Raiders' also earned the top-two finishes, led by senior Trey Ulrich who clocked in with a time of 16 minutes, 36.3 seconds. Junior teammate Derek Rudolph was in a distant second at 17:23.2.
Rhinelander senior Markus Johnson set the pace and earned a top-10 finish. Johnson finished at 18:13.1 and placed eighth overall.
The Hodags' also had two more harriers finish in the top-30; Jacob Weddle placed 25th (19:16.4) and JC Adams charted 29th (19:39.1). Abe Laggis finished in 34th place at 19:59.0 and cracked the 20-minute mark. While Levi Smith (45th, 20:56.0), Konnor Kennedy (48th, 20:56.8), and Matthew Herman (49th, 20:57.9) rounded out the varsity lineup.
While the girls' race nearly 2/3 of the way done, senior standout Alayna Franson was in great position to win her first race of the 2017 season, but denied after the cancellation due to lightning. Franson was just ahead of Kortnie Volk of Three Lakes. Fellow senior Anna Sturzl also was in good position for a top-10 finish before the race came to a halt.
Rhinelander will return to action on Saturday when they take part in the 41st annual Hatchet Invite beginning at 10:00AM. The Hodags will then gear up as they will head back to Eagle River for the Great Northern Conference meet the following Saturday.
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