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Runners sweep Husky Invite

Sophomore Rachel Ball picked right up where she left off in her state-qualifying freshman season by winning the girls race by nearly a minute at the season-opening Eau Claire North Husky Invitational at City Wells Park Saturday, Aug. 26.

Ball ran away from her competition to win the 5,000 meter race with a time of 18 minutes, 27 seconds. Katie Faris of Chippewa Falls was a distant second in 19:23.

Ball returns after finishing 15th at the WIAA State Championships in 2016, the only Raider girl to qualify for state.

Ball's effort was the highlight of a day that included a sweep of the team titles by the Hudson boys and girls teams against a host of conference and sectional opponents. The Raider girls dominated with a first place score of 33 points, 60 points ahead of second place Menomonie, while Hudson's boys took first with 45 points. Eau Claire Memorial was second with 66.

Following Ball in the girls' race were Emma Filipiak, Karina Gilson and Anna Czupryna in fourth through sixth places, respectively. Filipiak finished in 19:43.4, Gilson in 20:05.4 and Czupryna in 20:09. Sarah Czupryna rounded out the Raider scoring with a 17th place time of 20:52 while Abbi Faust was 18th in 20:52.9 and Maria Annen placed 32nd in 21:52.8.

Eighty-four runners competed in the girls race.

Head coach Don Krupa has high hopes for the Raider girls this season.

"The girls are returning from a good season last year," Krupa said. "This year they will improve on the last year's performances. The girls team has some new freshman on the team who have great potential which will make Hudson a great force in the conference, sectional and placing in the top five at the state meet."

Hudson's boys, meanwhile, who will be looking to improve on their fourth place team finish at state a year ago, were led by senior Max Ball with a fifth place time of 16:29.3 and junior George Bond in sixth in 16:47.9. Keegan Sansone finished ninth with a time of 17:16.6 and Noah Lundeen finished 12th in 17:24 while Sam Kiecker placed 13th in 17:24.7.

Tyler Auge added a 15th place time of 17:28.8 and Seth Miner was 28th in 17:50.5 while Tait Saterbak finished 42nd in 18:27.9. Eighty-five runners finished the race.

"We returned all but one of our varsity runners from last year but we will need to keep on improving to take the conference title and return with the team to state the end of October," he said.

Krupa said the Raider cross country program is in good shape with 80 athletes out for the sport this season.

"We have a great team and we are all working hard to be successful as individuals and as a team," he said.

Hudson will travel to Northfield, Minn. for a 30-team invite at St. Olaf College this Thursday, Aug. 31. Krupa said some of the top teams in Minnesota will be on hand to challenge the Raiders.

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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