Other than a lost shoe, just about everything went according to plan for the New Richmond boys at the 2019 WIAA State Cross Country Championships on Saturday.
The Tigers placed 17th among the 20 Division 1 boys teams competed at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids, the long-time site for the state meet.
The Tigers were led by their trio of standout juniors, Max Blader, Tyler Harris and Cale Bishop. Blader was the Tigers’ top finisher, placing 55th in 17:05. Harris was two places behind Blader, finishing one second behind his teammate.
Tiger coach Beth Kelly said Blader has made big steps in the final three races of the season in staying true to his race plan. Kelly said Harris brings a calm focus to the team.
“He’s the voice of reason. It’s three really different personalities that work well together,” Kelly said of the juniors.
Bishop has been the Tigers’ lead runner in most races this season. But early in the state race, he lost a shoe. He continued to run hard, placing 71st in 17:17. Kelly said Bishop maintained his focus despite losing a shoe.
“He reacted with a lot of guts and grace,” she said.
Seniors Chase Chiarle and Landon Carney were the Tigers’ fourth and fifth runners. Their progress over this season, especially in the last month, is a big reason why the Tigers are at state. Chiarle had personal best times in the conference and sectional meets, and he did that again at state, cutting 11 more seconds off his previous best. He finished in 17:35 to place 99th. Carney also had one of his best races, finishing in 18:28 to place 129th.
Sophomores Jacob Doehrmann and Aiden Johnson were the Tigers’ sixth and seventh runners at state.
“For our sophomores to get state experience is valuable knowledge,” Kelly said. She said Doehrmann and Johnson will have a shot to move up into the top five spots next season with Chiarle and Carney graduating. She said the team is well stocked with younger runners who could move up into the varsity lineup next season. Kelly said runners like Eddie Noyes, Quention Berhow and Noah Herron also have shown the ability to make that step for next season.
The Tigers went to state with the goal of not being one of the final two teams in the final results. By placing 17th the Tigers defeated three teams, so they were able to accomplish their main team goal.