For the 2019 season, the Rhinelander High School cross country team returns a majority of their varsity lineups and adds several incoming freshman to the mix. The Hodags under coach M.J. Laggis look to have a solid squad that each harrier will have to battle for the top positions.
Rhinelander returns 12 of their 14 runners who competed at the WIAA Division 2 sectionals in Freedom last year and their biggest void comes with the loss of graduate Bridger Flory on the boys' side. RHS boys' finished fifth in the GNC standings last season and their top returning runner is junior Jacob Weddle. Also returning for the boys' team will be the lone senior Levi Smith, juniors Daniel Goldsworthy and JC Adams, and sophomores Jaden Beske and Cal Laggis.
On the girls' side of action, the Hodags return a core group of harriers that placed in the middle of the pack last season at sectionals and finished 5th in the GNC. With their top returning runner being junior Abbey Henrichs who finished 39th at sectionals. Henrichs will be joined by fellow juniors Ella Schiek and Allison DeNamur and sophomores Sage Flory, Emma Germain, and Audrey Schiek.
Rhinelander's varsity lineup will be determined in their opening meets where all JV/varsity girls' run together as well as all JV/varsity boys' run together.
Looking at the Great Northern Conference competition, Medford and Lakeland will likely be at the top o the conference. The Raiders won the WIAA Division 2 State championship title last season. But teams such as Mosinee and Tomahawk also can not be overlooked. RHS will get a look at four of the seven GNC teams in their home opening invite.
The Hodags will open their 2019 season and will host the 12-team Hodag Invite in front of Rhinelander High School. The girls' race is slated to begin at 10:00AM with the boys' race to follow.
While the GNC meet will be hosted by Antigo this season on October, 19th at Gartzke Flowage. And the Division 2 sectional meet will be held at Edgewater Golf Course in Tomahawk on October 26th. Rhinelander will again take part in the Smiley Invite held at Tribute Golf Course on September, 21st.
Senior Bridger Flory an Rhinelander High School cross country team's top runner finished in 36th place out of a field of 152 runners on Saturday at the WIAA Division 2 State Cross Country meet. On the tough and hilly course, Flory had an impressive final high school cross country run clocking in at 17 minutes, 11.8 seconds at the Ridges in Wisconsin Rapids.
It also was only 7.62 seconds of Flory’s personal best time that he set the previous Saturday at sectionals at Freedom. The sectional course also proved to be a faster and flatter course. Flory was looking to crack a top-50 finish and Coach MJ Laggis and Melissa Krueger also had high expectations for the senior. Flory did not disappoint and used a strong start and late push at the end to earn 36th.
Throughout his high school cross country career, Flory battled illness and injury early but final got his shot at competing at state. In his freshman season, Flory finished 12th a the Great Northern Conference meet and charted 15th at sectionals and was about 20 seconds away from qualifying. And his junior season he missed a majority of the year due to an injury, but would make the most out of his senior season.
In the 5k course, Flory had a quick start and ran his first mile in 5:08 and would stick with a large group in the front the pack. It was also his highest placement where he ran in 27th. In the second mile Flory fell back to 40th at the second mile mark at 5:51.
Flory would stay right around 40th from there and had final push in the final half-mile of the race and picked up several positions and would run his final mile at 6:15 and averaged a 5.33 mile pace in the race.
Following the race Flory was greeted by his parents Joel and Susanne Flory as well coaches Laggis and Krueger. The congratulation was much deserved as they embraced the moment and reflected on his accomplishments.
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