The Bluejay cross country team found itself surrounded by wolves in Marshfield last Saturday, competing in a Valley Meet that included the runaway defending state champion Wausau East girls and third-place SPASH boys.
Neither of those teams has slipped a inch, in fact the Point boys ranked 1st-4th, 6th and 9th-one point behind a perfect 15 with an added foe inflator-while East pulled a 1-3-5-6-9 title.
The Merrill teams ranked seventh in both races, although they also found plenty to celebrate. Sydney Harris worked her way to an All-WVC HM 14th in 15:59, and freshman Ashley Berton ran 22nd in 16:22.
The young boys showed their best pack running of the season.
“We knew coming in the Valley would be very, very tough, but the kids did an excellent job of sticking to the race plan and staying within themselves,” MHS coach Greg Eichelkraut said. “Sydney has definitely matured as a runner. She took control of her racing and pacing to earn All-Conference.
“Ashley was only five seconds behind her at the one mile and was knocking at the door of getting All-Conference. She had a PR by 35 seconds. That’s just huge. The course was fast, but anything over 10 seconds faster was a big step up. Kendra (Andreska) and Sydney both had a 19-second PR.”
Kathleen Zeitz (47th, 18:35), Andreska (48th, 18:36) and Kelci Peterson (50th, 19:06) capped the scoring, and Maria DeBroux (51st, 19:07) was next.
The boys ran tight, with Lucas Gessler (42nd, 19:02), Michael Seaman (43rd, 19:05), Andrew Seaman (45th, 19:07), Marcus Reinhardt (46th, 19:10), and Trevor Myers (47th, 19:15) scoring, and Andrew Koch (49th, 19:19) and Matthew Dewar (54th, 20:08) trailing.
“We knew we would be toward the back of the pack and it can be a little bit lonely if they don’t stick together,” Eichelkraut said. “Other than two juniors, and Marcus is in his first year in cross, the rest of the kids are all sophomores and freshmen. This was a big step. We were excited how we grew together.
“Michael has been knocking on the door of varsity, but he ended up as our #2 with a 50-second PR. He actually finished ahead of Andrew for the first time.