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Boys' cross country team runs to fifth at state meet

Hudson senior Rachel Zachar (103) stays with the pack at the midpoint of the Division 1 girls' race at the WIAA State Cross Country Championships Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids. Zachar finished 110th with a time of 16:18.1 / 2
Hudson's Matt Rudquist (897), Jacob Ball (895) and Ryan Kromer (896) run close together near the end of the boys' Division 1 race at the WIAA State Cross Country Championships Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids. Ball finished 15th, Kromer was 20th and Rudquist placed 22nd to help the Raiders to a fifth place team finish. Bob Burrows photo2 / 2

Hudson's boys posted the second best team finish in school history by placing fifth out of 20 teams at the WIAA State Cross Country Championships Saturday at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.

Senior Rachel Zachar, in her third state meet, finished her high school career with a 110th place finish in the girls' race.

The Raider boys finished with a team score of 185 to earn fifth place in the final Division 1 team standings. Only the 2001 team, with Dustin Fier, Kyle Long, Eric Severude, Chris Jerry, Andrew Redd, Nathan Lee and Tony Brooks, had higher finish at the state meet when they took third.

This year, Jacob Ball, Ryan Kromer, Matt Rudquist, Luke Wusterbarth, Nick Schumacher, Martin Zais and Joshua Robers earned a spot in the Raider history books with their fifth place team finish.

Ball wrapped up his high school career by finishing 15th overall with a time of 16 minutes, 29 seconds, while Kromer, a freshman running in his very first state meet, finished 20th with a time of 16:35, the fastest time of any freshman in the state.

Rudquist, a junior, gave the Raiders three of the top 22 finishers with a 22nd place time of 16:37. Marcus Paulson of Hamilton won the boys Division 1 title with a time of 15:41.

Wusterbarth, a junior, finished in 17:27 to place 113th and Schumacher passed a trio of runners in the final 100 meters to earn 136th place with a time of 17:39 in the final race of his high school career. Zais, a junior, finished 154th in 17:53 and Robers, a senior, finished 158th in 17:55. A total of 190 runners finished the race.

Zachar, running in her third state meet, fell victim to some pushing and shoving and was tripped at one point in the race. She ended up with a time of 16:18 to place 110th out of 188 finishers.

"Rachel ran a solid race, running her race as she has all season," Raider coach Don Krupa said. "But she had a tough race with a lot of shoving, and getting tripped and falling did not lend itself to a productive race for her."

Zachar competed at the state meet as a freshman when the Raiders qualified as a team, and again as an individual qualifier as a junior. Krupa said she was focused all year on getting back to the state meet in her final season.

"She always knew what it would take to get there," he said. "She was not happy and this is not the way she wanted to end her season and her last race in high school cross country."

Krupa said Zachar, as well as senior girls Cori Vought, Keri Wetzstein, Kirsten Larson and Morgan Wright, will all be missed next season.

The Raider boys will also say goodbye to a big group of seniors. In addition to Ball, who Krupa said was instrumental in leading the runners in conditioning all summer, Schumacher and Robers, the team will also graduate Nathan Shonkwiler and Nolan Palmer, who both saw limited action with the varsity this season.

"They were always there when I needed a quality runner at the varsity level," Krupa said.

In addition, Krupa pointed to Eric Johnson, Connor Satterfield, Jay Henderson, Matt Sherick and Parker Draper as seniors who will be missed.

"They were always there to help me with the things I had to get completed before and after a race, such as chip hand out, collection, recording times, setting up the camp and take down. Just a few of the jobs I asked them to do," he said. "They, along with their very positive attitude, will be greatly missed by me and the team."

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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