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T-Bird pair returning to state

CWC runners stand out at Amherst Sectional

By Greg Seubert

There will be quite a few familiar faces at this year’s WIAA State Cross Country Meet.

Two Central Wisconsin Conference teams and four individuals qualified for the meet, set for Saturday, Oct. 31, at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.

The Amherst girls’ team of Alissa Niggemann, Anja Werner, Lindsay Dose, Rebecca Ostrowski and Victoria Weier finished second Oct. 24 behind Lourdes Academy at a Division 3 sectional at Standing Rocks County Park, with Niggemann winning the girls’ race in 19:12.

Three other CWC runners rounded out the top four in that race. Marion’s Delaney Greene-Gretzinger, last year’s Division 3 state champion, placed second in 19:13, while Iola-Scandinavia’s Erika Kisting and Leighten Fischer finished third and fourth in 19:21 and 20:11, respectively.

All four runners placed in the top 20 in the girls’ Division 3 race last year at state. Niggemann, a senior making her fourth trip to state, placed eighth, while Fischer, a junior heading to state for the third time, placed 19th and Kisting, who made it last year as a freshman, finished 20th.

Also moving on for Amherst is Seth Barnes, who placed seventh in the boys’ race.

Another CWC team, Rosholt, is sending its boys’ team of Adam Rzentkowski, Ryan Hoppa, Sawyer Fleming, Dausen Anderson and Bryan Cook and Brittany Gagas as an individual on the girls’ side.

“Our conference definitely has talent,” Fischer said. “To have a lot of good runners come out of a not very big conference is very cool.”

A steady mist fell during both races, as well as during a Division 1 sectional also held at the park.

The conditions didn’t bother Fischer or Kisting, however.

“It was very hard with the rain getting in your face,” Kisting said. “I have contacts, so it was really hard for me to see. The wind and rain kind of slowed you down at times, especially on the long stretches.”

“I like this type of weather,” Fischer said. “A little rain makes it cooler. It was perfect running weather today. It was a little slippery, but it wasn’t awful.”

Kisting’s main goal was to stick with Niggemann, who edged her near the finish line Oct. 15 to win the CWC meet on the same course.

“I just knew I had to stay with her and not get too far away,” she said. “She’s got a really strong kick.”

Fischer and Kisting have led the Thunderbirds the past two seasons.

“We push each other in practice and try to run with our top guy, Erick (Kriewaldt),” Kisting said. “It’s amazing that I have someone like Leighten to have this experience with.”

Also placing for the T-Birds were Jada Beacom (13th, 21:36); Natalie Rustad (41st, 23:48); and Haley Ullom (64th, 24:58).

Weyauwega-Fremont and Manawa also competed at the sectional.

The W-F girls finished eighth. Places and times for the Indians were Caragan Volz (12th, 21:24); Daisy Wilson (19th, 22:24); Saylor Alberts (37th, 23:27); Natalie Schneider (68th, 25:25); and Emily Durrant (84th, 27:46).

Manawa did not field a complete girls’ team. Places and times for the Wolves were Lexi Smiles (48th, 24:14); Jody Wentworth (53rd, 24:19); Briana Severson (66th, 25:04); and Josie Claussen (92nd, 29:59).

On the boys’ side, Manawa placed 12th, while I-S and W-F had incomplete teams.

Manawa’s runners included Jared Zielke (33rd, 19:04); Andrew Scheller (40th, 19:20); Scott Schneider (68th, 20:34); Sebastian Wagner (81st, 21:37); Johnathon Lubahn (90th, 23:23); Devin Loughrin (98th, 24:36); and Thompson Moser (99th, 25:02).

W-F runners were Duane Brazil (39th, 19:20); Austin Baehnman (83rd, 21:53); Glenn Walborn (91st, 23:38); and Logan Feltz (97th, 24:06).

I-S runners were Erick Kriewaldt (30th, 18:57); and Trenton Niemi (87th, 23:06).

While most runners have wrapped up the season, Kisting and Fischer are ready to lace up the running shoes for one more race.

“I know the course and I know how to run it since I’ve been there a couple of times,” Fischer said. “We still have to work hard this week and do what we usually do at practice: hard at the beginning of the week and easier toward the end to prepare for the big meet.”

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