The Merrill harriers finished late in the pack in Saturday’s WIAA sectional at Standing Rocks Park in Stevens Point, bringing up a “Wait ’til next year” feeling.
The girls ranked 12th of 13 teams, while the boys finished 13th.
“Our season finale ended Saturday and I was pleased with our running efforts, but am disappointed that our efforts couldn’t compete with the other teams.” commented MHS coach Craig Hoffman. “We have the hardest-working kids, but we haven’t quite caught up with the rest of the competition this year.
“I honestly have to use the oft-quoted statement, ‘Wait until next year’ to explain where we’re at in our program, but it is the most appropriate thing to say. Next year will be the breakout year for the Merrill cross country program.
“Saturday’s weather was not a factor and the competition was not a factor, they were what they were. Both boys and girls ran the best that they could on Saturday and we took a beating with the team standings, but I was very proud of their efforts. These kids have a lot of heart and as a coach, I’d take that any day over a bunch of whiney winners!
“With that said, we had senior Kennedy Soderberg run her best race this year on her final race of her cross country career! Who can’t but be happy for that! Oh yeah! And, senior Daunte Degner stepped into fill some varsity shoes the last two meets and set a personal record as well. I loved that feeling of seeing a young man such as Daunte finish his career on a windy and rainy Saturday knowing this was his last race as a Bluejay. That was very satisfying to see.”
The girls were paced by Deanta Saunders (68th, 22:45), Dalie Thomas (71st, 22:54), Lily Reimann (74th, 23:07), Soderberg (76th, 23:22), Sophie Priebe (83rd, 23:51), and Hunter Zecca (85th, 24:00) and Autumn Schenzel (87th, 24:20) also competed.
The boys used finishes from Treven Oberg (51st, 18:43), Jacob Romang (68th, 19:09), Andrei Heisinger (74th, 19:26), Nathan Koch (79th, 19:43), Ethan Bares (82nd, 19:54), Stephen Koch (87th, 20:23) and Degner (90th, 21:07).
Team standings- Girls– Appleton N. 47, Pulaski 87, SPASH 97, Wausau West 140, D.C. Everest 163, Wausau East 163, Appleton W. 163, Hortonville 170, Marshfield 235, Rhinelander 261, Wis. Rapids 286, Merrill 372, Tomah 392…….Boys- SPASH 45, D.C.E. 65, Wausau East 69, Appleton N. 113, Wausau West124, W.R. 144, Appleton W. 202, Hortonville 237, Marshfield 248, Pulaski 281, Rhineladner 285, Tomah 296, Merrill 354.