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Hudson High School runners return to state

Members of Hudson's girls' cross country team, from left, Miranda Miller, Sadie Kroll, Ellen Snyder, Mary Knutson, Rachel Anderson, Erin Wetzstein and Patsy Castro, show off their sectional runner-up plaque following the WIAA Sectional Meet in Menomonie Saturday. The Raiders finished second to Eau Claire Memorial to qualify for this Saturday's WIAA State Championships in Wisconsin Rapids. It's the second straight year the Raider girls' team has qualified for the state meet. Submitted photo1 / 2
Hudson senior Ryan Kromer maintains his lead over three La Crosse Logan runners near the one-mile mark at the WIAA Division 1 sectional meet last Saturday in Menomonie. Kromer pulled away to win the individual sectional title by a full 38 seconds and qualify for his fourth state meet this Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids. Photo by Bob Burrows2 / 2

Hudson senior Ryan Kromer earned his fourth trip to state and the Raider girls' finished second to qualify for state as a team at the WIAA Division 1 cross country sectional last Saturday in Menomonie.

Kromer ran away with the boys' sectional title, beating second place Trent Powell of River Falls by 38 seconds with a time of 15 minutes, 45.8 seconds.

The Raider girls earned their trip to state with a second place total of 79 points. Eau Claire Memorial topped the 12-team field with 49 to also move on.

The WIAA State Cross Country Championships will be held at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids this Saturday, Oct. 27. Kromer will run in the Division 1 boys' race at 12:20 p.m. while the Raider girls will compete in the Division 1 girls' race at 2:20 p.m.

Kromer moved into the lead in the boys' race last Saturday near the 800 meter mark and never looked back on his way to his third straight sectional title. This will be his fourth year at the state meet after finishing 20th, 15th and 4th, respectively, in his previous three trips.

Raider coach Don Krupa said Kromer should be right in the mix for a state title on Saturday.

"It will be one of the best state individual finishes in many years as the winner will be determined at the finish line, which means it will be that close," Krupa said.

The Raider girls' posted the ninth, 10th, and 11th fastest times last Saturday to spark their run to state. Junior Sadie Kroll finished 11th in 15:31.6, junior Erin Wetzstein was 10th in 15:33.9 and junior Ellen Snyder finished 11th in 15:35.4.

Sophomore Mary Knutson made a late surge to capture 17th place with a time of 16:03.6, while sophomore Rachel Anderson finished 32nd in 16:28.4 to round out the Raiders' scoring.

Freshman Miranda Miller added a 37th place time of 16:33.5 while senior Patsy Castro finished 44th in 16:36.1. A total of 83 runners competed in the race.

"The girls ran a solid race with all team members running very hard right to the finish," Krupa said.

Kroll, Snyder, Wetzstein, Knutson and Anderson were all members of last year's sixth place Raider team at state while this will be the first state competition for Miller and Castro.

The Raider boys' came up short in their bid to qualify for state for the first time since 2010, placing fifth in the 12-team sectional field with 122 points. La Crosse Logan took the team title with 46 followed by Eau Claire Memorial with 63.

Junior Jack Kadidlo was the second Raider finisher behind Kromer with a 23rd place time of 17:12.8, followed by senior Anders Christensen in 28th in 17:17.5, senior Grant Starr 31st in 17:20.2, and junior Donald Clark 39th in 17:36.7. Junior Logan Hammer finished 42nd in 17:39.0 and senior Greg Frechette was 81st in 19:18.5.

"When I watched the race progress, I knew we were going to come up short and we were not in the mix to move on as a team," Krupa said. "The entire team ran a great race but our placing did not lend itself to the top two team spots. We had our best race as a team at the Marshfield and Hudson Invites. The rest of the season we struggled as a team. We come close at the conference meet but that was it. The team finished fifth this year so we will start preparing for next season."

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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