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.