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Luke Wusterbarth came out of the woods and worked his way to an easy BRC crown. Photo submitted
Luke Wusterbarth came out of the woods and worked his way to an easy BRC crown. Photo submitted

Boys cross-country team gets bunches of BRC top spots

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sports River Falls, 54022

River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The cross country championship for the Big Rivers Conference found history repeating itself as far as placings - or in some cases not.

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The girls team finished a dramatic second in the conference meet, a single point behind River Falls, and as expected, the boys won their contest and also had the top two runners. It wasn't the first time for that one-two punch.

For the girls, if even a single Raider would have passed a Wildcat, that would have brought the title, since it would have removed a River Falls point at the same time as scoring one for Hudson.

This is the first year a Hudson runner hasn't won the individual title since 2005 -- Kristin Pelzel took it that year and in 2006, then Katie Cumming won it last season.

Still, Rachel Zachar ran an excellent race, and was less than two seconds from taking the conference crown. "The girls team as a whole ran a strong race, as the freshmen Katie Wetzstein and Sarah Kehoe, along with senior Kaila Fouks, placed in the top eleven," noted Coach Don Krupa.

"The girls need to take it two notches higher this Saturday at the sectional meet at La Crosse Logan," he said. Sectional favorite Onalaska will be there, along with La Crosse Central, Holmen and River Falls in competition for the top two team places. In the sectional format, the first two teams and the top five individuals not on the winning two teams advance to the state meet next Saturday, Nov. 1, in Wisconsin Rapids.

In the boys race, the team finished first, with a 34-point total that was five ahead of Eau Claire Memorial.

"They sent a clear picture to the rest of the conference schools that Hudson is the best in the conference again this year," said an elated Krupa. Hudson won the conference championship for the fourth year in a row, during which it has had nine individual championships. Sophomore Luke Wusterbarth was the individual titlist and Jacob Ball, coming on strong near the end of the regular season, was runner-up. This one-two finish has happened several times in recent years. The first was 1994 with Jason Finch and Ryan Meissen, and the second in 1995 with Meissen and Mike Reneau, all of whom have since excelled at the national level at longer distances, such as marathons. Then in 1999, it was Ryan Donovan and Dustin Fier, and in both 2001 and 2002, Fier and Kyle Long.

This tandem finish also happened when Hudson was in the Middle Border Conference. In 1977, John Lindeberg won, Keith Thompson was runner-up and John Kromer was third, then in 1978 it was Kromer and Thompson.

"The boys have yet to come together in a race with all the top runners competing," Krupa said. "As a team we must close the gap between our first three runners and our next four because the sectional meet will be more competitive, with La Crosse Logan the favorite to win and La Crosse Central to take second."

In the boys junior varsity race, Hudson dominated the field. Hunter Satterfield, running his last high school race, won the individual title, with Nathan Shonkwiler second, Joshua Robers third, London Walsh fourth and Blake Gottschalk ninth, placing them only four points away from a perfect score of 15.

These are Raider girls placers and their times: Zachar 2 15:38; Katie Wetzstein 6 16:05; Fouks 10 16:14; Kehoe 11 16:18; Cori Vought 19 16:35; Keri Wetzstein 24 16:51; Deven DuCharme 33 17:08; and Katelyn Gross 46 17:58.

These are Raider boys placers and their times: Wusterbarth 1 16:44; Ball 2 17:01; Matt Rudquist 6 17:29; Jake Pittman 9 17:46; Jay Skinner 16 18:04; Martin Zais 26 18:23; Max Hawksford 41 19:27; Jeffery Schnobrich 28 20:17; Joey Frye 29 20:18; Nolan Palmer 31 20:20; Charlie Skinner 37 20:33; Matt Gavin 41 20:43; Eric Johnson 54 21:18; Shane Muller 55 21:19; and Kody Keller 65 22:04.

The WIAA sectional meet will be at the La Crosse "Field for Kids" soccer complex. The first race on Saturday is for the boys at 11 a.m., followed by the girls race at 11:45. The awards ceremony is at 12:30.

This is the all-conference team: Zachar and Katie Wetzstein, and Wusterbarth, Ball and Rudquist, first team; and Fouks and Kehoe, and Pittman, second team.

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