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Wusterbarth, Zachar are harriers moving on to state

Members of the Raider cross country team that are statebound, and their coaches, are from left, Coach Don Krupa, Luke Wusterbarth, Rachel Zachar and Coach Amanda Kozicky. Photo submitted

The Raider cross country team sent a male and female runner to the state meet, but neither team as a whole advanced out of the La Crosse Logan sectional, which was a bit of a surprise on the boys side.

In the Oct. 25 meet, Luke Wusterbarth placed second and Rachel Zachar fifth, which sent them along to state.

"The boys could not put it together one more time to give them the opportunity to compete at the state meet," Coach Don Krupa said. "When I watched the race progress, I knew we were not in the mix to move on as a team. At the two-mile mark, Luke was the only one in a good position, Jacob Ball and Matt Rudquist would have to move up. Jake Pittman, Martin Zais, Nathan Shonkwiler and Dan Schloesser would have to really accelerate and pick up some positions."

However, the status did not change in the last mile, and the Hudson athletes could not make a push to pass other runners. "They could not come together to solidify a victory," Krupa said.

This is the first time in three years that the boys team will not compete at the state meet as a team. Only a single individual, Wusterbarth, who is a sophomore, will participate and will be gunning for a top 20 finish. Jacob Ball missed going to state by one place.

In the girls race, Zachar, who is an upperclassman, showed her confidence, Krupa said. "She ran a great race and placed fifth to represent Hudson in the state meet for the girls. Last year she missed going by one place and was not going to be denied this year."

However, like the boys, the team in its entirety could not put everything together to win a spot at state. "The girls looked in good position at the mile, but as the race continued, they seemed to lose the steam that they started with and continued to loose ground."

The state meet is at Wisconsin Rapids this Saturday. The boys race is at 12:20 p.m. and the girls run at 2:20.

These are Raider places for boys: 2 Luke Wusterbarth 16:29; 10 Jacob Ball 17:04; 18 Matt Rudquist 17:22; 30 Jake Pittman 17:53; 35 Martin Zais 18:02; 36 Nathan Shonkwiler 18:02; and 60 Dan Schloesser 18:43.

These are Raider places for girls: 5 Rachel Zachar 15:29; 34 Cori Vought 16:24; 35 Sarah Kehoe 16:26; 44 Kaila Fouks 16:47; 45 Katie Wetzstein 16:47; 55 Deven DuCharme 17:12; and 66 Keri Wetzstein 17:26.

The Hudson boys were fourth of the 12 teams at the sectional with 95 points, well ahead of fifth-place Holmen with 144. La Crosse Central took fourth with 81 and La Crosse Logan won the meet with 57.

The Hudson girls were sixth with 163, just ahead of Menomonie with 177 and right behind Eau Claire Memorial with 146. Onalaska, which was a favorite, won with 39.