Most teams have to travel the length of the state, or at least a good chunk of miles to reach top-level competition. But the MHS and THS cross country teams simply needed to go to the north side of Wausau to find some of the best Wisconsin competition outside of the state meet.
Saturday’s 54th annual Bill Smiley Invite at Wausau’s American Legion Golf Course provided that challenge.
The Hatchet boys and girls both ranked 4th in the 16-team D2 race and 5th in the 30-team D2/3 combo, paced by a D2 record-setting performance of Rachel Sudbury.
The Bluejay girls ran 11th in the 13-team D1 Small division, while the boys were 11th of 11.
Sudbury was clocked in 15:08 to win the D2/3 race and chop seven seconds off the standing D2 record. She was backed up by Stephanie Welke (22nd, 16:39), Jessie Harmon (47th, 17:27), Kelsey Renn (51st, 17:29), Taylor Laack (85th, 18:09) and Emily Miller (94th, 18:14). Rachael Miller had to withdraw with injury.
The THS boys were bolstered by the efforts of Bryan Tomek (15th, 17:29), Connor Ahrens (32nd, 18:02), Dylan Dahl (40th, 18:10), Garrett Daigle (57th, 18:41), Troy Salewske (60th, 18:45), Ryan Kuehn (73rd, 19:06) and Brogan Lemke (75th, 19:09).
The Merrill girls followed the lead of Sydney Harris, who medaled 18th in 16:40, with Ashley Berton (36th, 17:28), Kelci Peterson (76th, 19:04), Kendra Andreska (82nd, 19:32) and Kathleen Zeitz (83rd, 19:33).
“I thought the kids competed very well,” MHS coach Greg Eichelkraut said. “It was a beautiful day and they had much better footing than at Shawano.
“Sydney was good enough to bring home a medal even though she was fighting the effects of a bout of flu. Kelci and Kendra both had major time cuts of 30-40 seconds. Ashley ran a gutsy race while battling a knee problem.
“The boys side continued to push the middle much better, and they had to. We were a little out-manned this meet. Andrew Seaman went out well and pushed his limits. Andrew Koch especially stepped up and helped us out. Trevor also really took charge of the middle of the race.”
Seaman (42nd, 19:04) had the top MHS finish, trailed by Koch (66th, 19:46), Myers (71st, 19:53), Mathew Dewar (75th, 20:47), Michael Seaman (76th, 21:09), Lucas Gessler (77th, 21:12) and Ethan Schneider (78th, 21:14).