Hudson senior Rachell Ball won the girls’ race and River Falls’ senior Mason Shea was third in the boys’ run to lead the Raider girls and Wildcat boys to first place team finishes at the 13-team Eau Claire North Husky Invitational Saturday, Sept. 7, at Eau Claire’s City Wells Park.
Hudson’s girls return six of its top seven runners from last year’s Big Rivers Conference and sectional championship team that went on to finish sixth as a team at state. Coach Don Krupa said they are setting their sights higher this season.
“The girls are returning from a good season last year which will make us a great force in the conference, sectional and placing in the top five at the state meet,” coach Don Krupa said.
Ball, who finished 32nd at state as a junior, led three Raiders in the top 10 in the girls’ race Saturday with a first-place time of 18 minutes, 44 seconds. Junior Alicia Belany was sixth in 19:21.9 and senior Emma Filipiak placed 10th in 20:02.4. Sophomore Manon Field finished 28th in 20:56.1 and senior Ella Young rounded out the Raider’s top five with a 31st place time of 21:01.4 to give the Raiders a first place team score of 76. Osceola was second with 85 followed by Menomonie in third with 95. River Falls was 10th with 231.
River Falls took the boys’ team title with a score of 56 while La Crosse Logan was second with 76 and Eau Claire Memorial third with 95. New Richmond was fourth with 111 followed by Hudson in fifth with 137.
Senior Mason Shea broke the 16-minute mark for the first time to lead the Wildcat boys with a third-place time of 15:50.8, just behind Hudson senior Noah Lundeen, who placed second with a personal best time of 15:34.8.
“He is in great form and is now the number three fastest guy to ever grace the hallways at River Falls High School,” Wildcat coach Kari DeLuca said about Shea. “He is going to be fun to watch this season.”
Junior Grant Magnuson was the second Wildcat across the finish line with a time of 16:11.8 while Joey Madsen was 13th in 16:45.9. Junior Brandon Nelson finished 16th in 17:04.7 and senior Jason Franzwa rounded out the Cat’s top five with a 19th place time of 17:06.6.
“Brandon Nelson really impressed me this race,” DeLuca said. “He put in a lot of work in the offseason. He cracked our top 20 all-time fastest 5k list. He is really progressing as a runner and we'll need a good race from him at sections if we want to make state.”
Hudson junior Tony Weeks finished just behind Shea with a fourth-place time of 15:52.8. Junior Jack Lewis was the third Raider finisher in 36th place with a time of 18:07.5 and junior John Hambleton was 41st in 18:12.2 while sophomore Henry Czupryna rounded out Hudson’s team score with a 54th-place time of 18:29.
“We returned only three of our varsity runners from last year so we will need to keep on improving so we are ready for the end of October,” Krupa said.
The highlight for the River Falls’ girls was seeing junior Allison Weissinger crack the 20-minute mark for the first time with a ninth-place time of 19:59.9.
“Breaking that 20-minute barrier is huge for girls,” DeLuca said. “It really brings them to a whole new level of cross-country.”
There was a big drop off after Weissinger’s ninth-place finish for the Wildcat girls with senior Megdaline Weideman in 45th place with a time of 21:31.1, sophomore Morgan Prigge 56th in 21:53.6, senior Sarah Schneckenberger 58th in 21:56.8 and junior Ellen Rayne 63rd in 22:16.2.
“The girls were 10th overall, which is tough,” DeLuca said. “We need to drop some significant time if we want to place higher at meets, but this group is up for the challenge.”
Hudson will next compete at the Menomonie Relays Saturday, Sept. 14, while the Wildcats are off until the Milaca Invite Saturday, Sept. 21.