The Rhinelander High School cross country team competed in the Northland Pines Invitational on Tuesday evening with the girls' win the overall team title. The RHS girls finished with all seven of their varsity runners in the top 15 and cruised to a win with 36 points finishing ahead of Hurley, Tomahawk, Northland Pines, Antigo, and Crandon. The RHS boys were with top harrier Bridger Flory and finished fourth out of six teams finishing ahead of Hurley and Crandon.
Not only was it a great win for the RHS girls, they were also facing their own challenges with several runners battling illness. The lady Hodags had a strong start with a majority of their underclassmen top runners in a pack near the front of the race. It also showed the improvement as Rhinelander's top seven girls' runners all finished with 1 minute, 38 seconds of each other.
Sophomore Abbie Henrichs led the way and finished fourth at 22:47.9. Hurley senior Mariah Sejbl finished first at 21:40.3 and teammate Mackenzie Backman charted runner-up. Five out of six of the top girl finishers on the day were freshmen or sophomores.
Freshman Sage Flory wasn't far behind teammate Henrichs and finished in fifth place at 23:10.2. Flory was just over 22 seconds behind Henrichs. Freshman Audrey Schiek earned sixth at 23:22.1 and her sophomore sister Ella Schiek charted a top-10 finish at 23:45.3.
Rounding out the varsity top-seven was sophomore Alison DeNamur (11th; 24:00.7), freshman Megan Brown (14th; 24:16.7), and freshman Emma Germain (15th; 24:25.0).
On the boys side of action, Coach MJ Laggis gave their top senior runner Bridger Flory the night off after he has been not only running cross country but mountain biking competitively this fall. The Rhinelander boys finished with 93 points in fourth place while Tomahawk finished first with 28 points.
Jacob Weddle, a RHS sophomore led the boys and was the only Hodag to crack a top-10 finish. Weddle placed eight and cracked 19 minutes with a time of 18:58.7.
Tomahawk had three harriers in the top-4 in the boys' division. Sophomore Drew Bolder of the Hatchets won the race, clocking in at 17:39.1. Tomahawk senior Evan Ploeckelman was runner-up and Hatchet sophomore Noah Buckwalter finished fourth.
Rhinelander freshman Jaden Beske had the Hodags' second best time and finished in 18th place at 19:47.3. While Sophomore JC Adams placed 27th at 20:40.7. Sophomore Daniel Goldsworthy and freshman Cal Laggis finished 31st/32nd (20:52.1, 20:58.0). And rounding out the varsity top seven was sophomore Tristan Fuss (39th; 21:36.7) and junior Levi Smith (40th; 21:36.8).
The RHS cross country team will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to Tomahawk to take part in the Hatchet Invite held at Edgewater Country Club beginning at 10:00AM.
James Williams Middle School Results
The James Williams Middle School cross country teams also competed in the Northland Pines Invite and would finished 2nd/6 in the girls' division and 3rd/7 in the boys' division.
The JWMS girls' were runner-up and were 33 points behind Minocqua in first place, and finished ahead of Prairie River, Tomahawk, Crandon, and Antigo.
The top JWMS girl to finish on the day was sixth grader Sophia Miljevich, who placed fifth with a time of 13:02.1 Reese Gehrig (11th; 13:48.2), Eva Hetland (16th; 14:15.4), and Kyleah Hartman (23rd; 14:29.3) rounded out the top four for the Hodags.
On the JWMS boys' side, they scored 70 points in third place which was only two points behind Minocqua for the runner-up position. Prairie River Middle School boys finished first with 56 points.
Eighth grader Cody Ruetz had the best finish for the JWMS boys' and earned runner-up with a time of 11:51.1. Jack Seidl (9th; 12:53.9), Jett Biolo (21st; 13:41.5), and Ian Rumney (25th; 13:41.5) rounded out JWMS top four.