RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- The River Falls cross country teams traditionally kick off each season with their Wildcat Extreme Meet, which takes runners through the South Fork of the Kinnickinnic River. But this is not a traditional season.

So the Wildcats created a new course for their only home meet of the season that wound around the baseball fields and up through the arboretum behind the high school, and head coach Kari DeLuca couldn’t have been happier with it.

“It ended up being a great course,” she said. “And the fall colors made an awesome backdrop for a great day of cross country.”

The meet also gave the Wildcat parents their only chance to attend a meet this season due to local coronavirus restrictions. And the home team didn’t disappoint, with the boys finishing third as a team and the girls placing fourth.

“We competed very hard,” DeLuca said. “The girls continue to get better and better and close in on their competition. We took fourth, but honestly, it’s the most competitive we’ve been in a long time. I am proud of these girls and the work they have put in to get here.”

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Senior Allison Weissinger led the River Falls girls with a seventh place time of 20 minutes, 14.1 seconds, while freshman Lilly Jensen was eighth in 20:24.9. Senior Ellen Rayne also medaled with a 24th place time of 21:36.8 while junior Morgan Prigge was 25th in 21:42.9 and senior Abigail Esterby was 28th in 21:55.9.

River Falls girls finished just behind third place Hudson in the final team standings. The Raiders were led by sophomore Rubyann Mitchell with a sixth place time of 20:12.1. Sophomore Ryleigh White was 12th in 20:51.1 and junior Manon Field finished 13th in 20:52.1 while freshman Rebecca Belany placed 16th in 21:04.9 and senior Alicia Belany was 19th in 21:30.1.

Hudson’s Anthony Weeks, left, River Falls Grant Magnuson and Menomonie’s Patrick Schwartz run close together early in the boys’ race at the Wildcat Cross Country Invitational Saturday, Oct. 10. Schwartz went on to take first place, Weeks was second and Magnuson placed third. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia
Hudson’s Anthony Weeks, left, River Falls Grant Magnuson and Menomonie’s Patrick Schwartz run close together early in the boys’ race at the Wildcat Cross Country Invitational Saturday, Oct. 10. Schwartz went on to take first place, Weeks was second and Magnuson placed third. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia

As has been the case all season, the boys’ race came down to a battle between Menomonie’s Patrick Schwartz, Hudson’s Anthony Weeks and River Falls’ Grant Magnsuson. Schwartz ended up holding off Weeks for a first place time of 16:02.7 while Weeks was second in 16:06.1 and Magnsuon took third in 16:27.0.

DeLuca said it just wasn’t Magnuson’s day Saturday. “But he is looking really fit in practice and will be ready for better races in the next few weeks,” she added.

Henry Czupryna contributed an 11th place time of 17:29.0 to the Raiders’ second place team finish and Addisu Haverly finished 15th in 17:44.8 while John Hambleton was 16th in 17:47.7 and Taggert Ruedebusch placed 17th in 17:55.5.

Brandon Nelson was the second Wildcat across the finish line in 12th place with a time of 17:29.2 while Dustin Sheely finished 14th in 17:35.9.

“Dustin Sheely continues to impress me,” DeLuca said. “He has moved up the ranks and is racing really hard for us, helping our team score.”

Rounding out the Wildcat top five boys were Nathaniel Fosler in 26th place in 18:32.2 and San Shaw in 31st in 19:05.8.

Next up for both the Wildcats and Raiders is the subsectional in Rice Lake Tuesday, Oct. 20. The race is a qualifier for the sectional meet scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24, in Chippewa Falls.

Panthers, Tigers shine at Amery Invite

St. Croix Central swept the team titles at the Amery Invitational last Tuesday, Oct. 6, with the Panther boys earning a tiebreaker over New Richmond for first place and the girls finishing 66 points ahead of second place Ellsworth.

St. Croix Central’s and New Richmond’s boys both finished with 51 points, leaving the outcome up to each team’s No. 6 runner, where Panther senior Cameron Tredal posted a 20th place time of 20:20.9 while Tiger freshman Otto Gustafson was 23rd in 20:41.7.

Central senior Jakob Eggen won the individual title with a first place time of 17:52.4 while Cougar Holder placed fourth in 18:28.3. Colin Hackbarth posted a ninth place time of 19:06.9 and Brian Woehrle was 18th in 20:14.0 while Micah Larson finished 19th in 20:14.8.

New Richmond boys were led by Cale Bishop in fifth place in 18:47.3. Aidan Johnson finished seventh in 18:55.9 and Eddie Noyes was eighth in 18:58.6 while Mason Hughes finished 10th in 19:09.1 and Jonas Drill was 21st in 20:24.1.

Somerset boys were led by Zach Maitrejean with a sixth place time of 18:55.4.

In the girls’ race, St. Croix Central placed five runners in the top ten to post a first place score of 26. Ellsworth was a distant second with 92.

Panther teammates Mya Kizer and Kaitlyn Carlson took the top spots with times of 20:26.4 and 20:35.7, respectively. Sydney Carlson was fifth in 22:18.9, Sidnie Roshell finished eighth in 22:47.9 and Anna Sauer was 10th in 23:09.3.

Somerset’s Adeline Goeltl finished third overall in 21:18.5 while New Richmond was led by Anna Fitzgerald with a seventh place time of 22:47.0. The TIgers finished fourth in the team standings while Somerset was fifth.

The Middle Border Conference teams will return to Amery for the conference championship meet Tuesday, Oct. 13. New Richmond will move on the Division 1 subsectional Tuesday, Oct. 20, in Rice Lake while St. Croix Central and Somerset will run in the Division 2 subsectional in Somerset.