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Boys keep running to state

Members of the Raiders boys' 2009 sectional championship cross country team include, front row from left, Nick Schumacher, Josh Robers and Ryan Kromer. Back row, Jacob Ball, Luke Wusterbarth, Martin Zais, Matt Rudquist and coach Don Krupa. Submitted photo

Jacob Ball, Ryan Kromer and Matt Rudquist all finished in the top ten to lead the Raiders boys' cross country team to a first place finish at the La Crosse Logan sectional Saturday in La Crosse.

The sectional title gives the Raiders a berth in the WIAA State Cross Country Championships this Saturday, Oct. 31 in Wisconsin Rapids.

The Raider girls finished seventh in the team standings but will be represented at the state meet by senior Rachel Zachar, who finished fifth to earn a spot as an individual qualifier.

Ball finished second in the 5,000 meter boys' race with a time of 16 minutes, 44.9 seconds while Kromer was right behind in third in 16:56.7 and Rudquist placed seventh in 17:06.9.

Luke Wusterbarth added a 16th place time of 17:31.3 and Martin Zais placed 19th in 17:41.5 to give the Raiders a first-place team score of 47 at the 12-team sectional. La Crosse Logan took second with 65 to also qualify for the state meet.

"When I watched the race progress, I knew we were in the mix to move on as a team," Raider coach Don Krupa said. "Jacob Ball and Ryan Kromer were in the top three positions the entire race. Matt and Luke were in the top ten and held on to their positions very well, with Martin, Nick and Joshua making a surge in the final 800 meters of the race."

Nicholas Schumacher finished 28th with a time of 17:59.1 while Joshua Robers placed 40th in 18:30.3.

Zachar ran to a fifth place time of 15:48.3 in the 4,000 meter girls' race to earn a spot at the state meet for the third time in her four year-high school career.

"She is very focused and understands race strategy and what it takes to get to the state meet," Krupa said. "The team could not put it together to earn a spot at the state meet this year. The girls ran a solid race with all team members running very hard right to the finish."

Katie Wetzstein was the second Raider girl across the finish line with a 19th place time of 16:14.7 while Cori Vought placed 43rd in 17:08.6. Deven DuCharme finished 49th in 17:21.8 and Abby Koski finished 57th in 17:36.7.

Miki Robers added a 60th place time of 17:48.8 while Shemaina Miller finished 68th in 18:40.4.

River Falls took the girls' team title with 57 points and will be joined at the state meet by second place Eau Claire Memorial, who scored 73. Hudson finished seventh with 173.

The girls' Division 1 race will begin at 12:20 p.m. Saturday at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids with the boys' Division 1 race scheduled for 2:20 p.m.

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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