Local teams hoping to succeed with young rosters

Experienced youngsters headline area’s top runners
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The high school cross-country season opened on Aug. 13, with teams starting practice in preparation for the first meets of the season, which can take place Aug. 21.

Teams and individual runners will have about two months to get in the best shape they can, with sectionals being run on Oct. 19 and 20.

Bonduel

Both the Bonduel girls and boys team enjoyed strong seasons in 2017, with each team earning a trip to state. The girls took seventh while the boys came in 15th.

While Bonduel lost 17 seniors, the Bears return more than enough talent to make repeat trips down to Wisconsin Rapids for the state championships.

The girls team is led by sophomores Kara Troxel, Madison Kurey, Breanna Schnell, Erin Timler and Katlin Thompson. Senior Grace Tubutis will help provide a veteran voice for the girls, who expect to make it to state again.

“Our motivating factor to get back down to state as a team is knowing that we have a really good chance at making it again,” Troxel said. “Not everyone was able to run at state last year, so it is my goal to have those people be able to say that they’ve ran at state. I believe in my team and I think we can return to state. We have good motivation and we will not quit until the job is done.”

The boys team will return a few more upperclassmen to the mix, led by seniors Jared Wondra and Colin Ewing. Juniors Will Beaumier, Carter Kurey and Colen Klosterman also have plenty of varsity experience.

Shawano

Coach Steve Stomberg and the Hawks head into the season with high hopes as it also returns several runners from last year’s team.

Juniors Karsten Anderson, Ben Carroll and Johnny Dillenburg will lead a young boys team into the season. Sophomores Ethan Chelberg, Joe Mente and Carter Schmidt hope to build off strong freshmen seasons while Karson Rades and Demetrius Kaquatosh will also compete in some varsity invites.

“Even though we lost our best runner from last year, many of the guys were very motivated this summer, and it will be exciting to see what they can do,” Anderson said. “The key is to work hard during September and make sure that all of our guys are healthy for October. We can’t afford to lose anybody this year if we want to win.”

Seniors Alice Hoffman and Dayna Besaw along with junior Sarah Mente will provide leadership for a girls team that is also very young. Sophomores Lydia Beyer and Claire Guenther each succeeded in their freshmen seasons, and along with Graciella Onesti, will help the girls team.

Wittenberg-Birnamwood

The Wittenberg-Birnamwood boys and girls cross-country teams head into the season with high hopes despite significantly different experience levels on their rosters.

The boys team returns many of the runners from last year, when it took fifth at the CWC meet with just one senior. The girls team included four seniors and finished second at the conference meet.

Junior Cole Schairer finished 16th at the conference meet last year. Juniors Brendan Resch and Chad Moegenburg and sophomores Wyatt Dickman, Evan Stanislawski, Ian Resch and Henry Seegmiller help fill out an experienced yet still young team this season.

Seniors Erica Wendler, Chloe King and Molly Gretzlock will lead the girls team.

“This season, I want to compete in the same way the seniors did last year. They were very talented, and I strive to run like them,” King said. “Even though our team now is going to be very small, I feel that if we are all dedicated, we could still perform well.”

Gresham/Bowler

Despite losing dual-sport athlete Drew Haffner, the Gresham/Bowler boys co-op is still primed for a strong season behind the leadership of Levi Schick and Noah Bestul.

“These two are both great examples of hard working athletes that really help lead the younger kids in our program,” coach Chad Thorne said. “These two have both been with the program since we started two years so they know what the expectations are and they continue to build and progress from their previous seasons.”

Wolf River Lutheran

Even though the Wolf River Lutheran boys team will be young, coach Stephen Lehrke likes the outlook of the team, which will be led by senior Mitch Behnke.

“Our team this year is comprised mostly of incoming freshmen, which bodes well for the future, but currently will be a rebuilding year,” Lehrke said. “Mitch put in a great deal of work over the summer and has positioned himself well.”

Clintonville

Coach Stacy Hohn will have plenty of young runners at her disposal when the Truckers start competing at invites.

Juniors Kayla Klemp, Katie Lamberies and Delaney Hintz will serve as the experienced runners for the girls while sophomore Allison Smejkal also has varsity experience.

The boys team will be headlined by Cameron Mauel and fellow sophomores Klay Barkow and Caedyn Higgins.

Menominee Indian

At the Division 3 Westfield Sectional last year, the Menominee Indian boys team had a trio of runners compete and were led by Ashton Cox, who is now a sophomore.

Senior Richard Wayka and junior Tyson Webster were the other two Eagles to run at the sectional last year.

Marion

The Marion girls team will need to replace two of the three runners it sent to the Westfield Sectional last year. Junior Keana Johnson is the only girls runner that could return to this year’s team.

Justin Wuske represented the Mustangs in the boys race at sectionals. Wuske will be a senior this fall.