The Rhinelander High School cross country made great strides competing at the WIAA Division 2 sectionals on Saturday, where both the girls' and boys' concluded their 2019 season. The Hodags finished in the middle of the pack with the boys' finishing eighth out of 15 and the girls' placed seventh out of 14 at the Edgewater Country Club in Tomahawk.
Despite not sending any harriers to the WIAA State championship in Wisconsin Rapids this season, the core group of runner have shown great improvements from the previous seasons. In the same field of sectional opponents as last season, the RHS girls' improved from 10th to seventh and the boys' jumped from 13th to eighth. Also 12 of the Hodags 14 varsity runners dropped times from the last time they ran the same course two weeks prior.
The top three Rhinelander varsity boys' all set personal-best times and all clocked in below 18-minutes, but was not enough for any runners to advance to state. Only the top five finishers not on a state-qualifying team advanced to state. Junior Jacob Weddle was the Hodags top finisher on the boys' side, placing 28th with a time of 17 minutes, 35.2 seconds. Sophomore Cal Laggis was not far behind in 36th at 17:48.5. And sophomore Jaden Beske clocked in at 17:54.1 to place 39th.
Junior David Gibbs finished 58th for RHS at 18:33.1, junior Daniel Goldsworthy placed 62nd at 18:46.5, junior JC Adams was 63rd (18:50.1), and freshman Nathanael Gibbs rounded out the varsity in 76th at 19:19.8.
Freedom won the boys' team sectional title and was followed by New London, Shawano, Lakeland, Tomahawk, Wittenberg-Birnamwood, and Mosinee. Freedom junior Jack Reier was the medalist in the boys' division and won with a time of 16:34.6, with his team having five harriers in the top-14.
On the girls' side of action junior Abbey Henrichs once again paced the Hodags and had the best finish for RHS on the day. Henrichs finished 27th overall with a time of 21:26.7. Fellow junior Ali DeNamur was right behind and placed 30h at 21:31.3.
Junior Ella Schiek who battled injury throughout the first half of the season, finished third for the Hodags placing 40th on the day with a time of 22:19.8. Sophomore Audrey Schiek was close behind and placed 43rd at 22:25.2. Sophomores Emma Germain (53rd; 22:44.9), Sage Flory (61st; 22:59.7), and Megan Brown (67th; 23:35.9) rounded out the RHS varsity.
Tomahawk won the girls sectional title to edge Freedom by one point and Lakeland. Mosinee was fourth followed by New London and Shawano. Marinette senior Katelyn Kitzinger was first overall at 19:28.8 followed by a pair of Great Northern Conference runners; Tomahawk senior Haley Voermans-Dea and Lakeland senior Ashley Peterson.
Rhinelander made great strides on both the girls' and boys' side for the 2019. The Hodags will also return all their varsity harriers for next season and will to keep cutting time and also push to send individuals to Wisconsin Rapids.
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The Rhinelander High School boys and girls cross country teams finished fifth at the Great Northern Conference championship meet at Gartzke Flowage Trails in Antigo on Saturday. Sophomore Cal Laggis had a standout race for the Hodags and was the only Rhinelander harrier to earn all-conference honors and placed fourth overall on the tough hilly 5k course.
Laggis crossed the line with a time of 19 minutes, 9.8 seconds in the field of 43 varsity boy runners. The top-14 finishers only consisted of four underclassmen which included Laggis. Not only was it a break out run, he better his time by 1:42 from the last time the Hodags ran the same course at the end of September and was only 38.3 seconds behind medalist Eric Kordus of Mosinee. Laggis had strong start and maintained his possession near the front the pack where he edged Lakeland’s Victory Masayesva for fourth place by 1.6 seconds.
The Tomahawk boys beat out Lakeland by three points for the team title with 51 points. Medford boys were third with 73 points followed by Mosinee with 78 points, Rhinelander in fifth with 95 points, and Northland Pines was sixth with 179 points.
Laggis was the only Rhinelander harrier to earn all-conference honors and took home first-team honors. Junior Jacob Weddle was only 10.1 seconds away from the 14th and final all-conference position and finished 19th overall at 20:05.9. Sophomore Jaden Beske was the third Hodag boy to finish on the day and was 22nd at 20:21.7. Freshman Nathanael Gibbs (26th; 20:52.3), junior Daniel Goldsworthy (28th; 21:01.4), junior JC Adams (29th; 21:02.5), and junior David Gibbs (30th; 21:15.8) rounded at the boys’ varsity.
On the girls side, defending WIAA Division 2 state champions Medford beat out Lakeland for the team title by five points with 40 points. Tomahawk was third with 47 points, just two points behind the Thunderbirds. Mosinee was fourth with 92 points, Rhinelander placed fifth with 129 points, and Northland Pines finished sixth with 190 points. The Raiders had five harriers in the top 13, while Lakeland had three runners in the top-five. Lakeland senior Ashley Peterson earned the medalist honors at 21:21.9) for the third straight year.
Junior Abbey Henrichs paced the RHS girls' and finished 19th overall at 23:57.2 which was 23 seconds away from the 14th all-conference spot. Fellow junior Ali DeNamur placed 23rd (24:08.4), sophomore Audrey Schiek was 29th (25:04.1), and sophomore Sage Flory finished 31st (25:19.4). Right behind Flory was sophomore Emma Germain (32nd; 25:31.0), junior Ella Schiek (33rd; 25:33.5), and sophomore Megan Brown (36th; 25:56.0) rounded out the varsity girls.
The JV boys and girls cross country team closed out their 2019 season on Satuday and also competed in the Great Northern Conference meet at Gartzke Flowage. The boys JV was third and the girls JV finished fifth. Freshman Cody Ruetz was the top Rhinelander JV runner and placed third overall at 21:09.7 and senior Valerie Dalka was the top girl finisher placing 12th at 26:23.2.
Sophomore Jack DeNamur (10th; 22:03.3), freshman Marcus O’Malley (14th;22:25.4), and freshman Travis White (15th; 22:46.7) rounded out the boys top-four finishers. Freshman Aubrianna Younker (17th; 27:05.1), freshman Kylinn Gechas (22nd; 27:34.2), and sophomore Ellie Van Camp (27th;29.28.0) rounded out the top-four JV girls.
Rhinelander varsity will be back in action on Saturday when the take part in the WIAA Division 2 sectional at Edgewater Golf Course in Tomahawk. The girls’ race is slated to start at 11:00AM with the boys’ race to follow.
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