The Rhinelander High School cross country team dropped some time Tuesday in its second meet of the season.
Both the Hodag boys and girls squads finished third behind conference rivals Medford and Mosinee in the eight-team Mosinee Invite held at Nine Mile Forest in Wausau.
"It was a good meet and I think the one thing that we came away with was, on both sides, the boys and the girls, we just felt like we made some nice gains from where we were a week ago," coach M.J. Laggis said.
The Hodags got a big run from junior Jacob Weddle on the boys' side. He dropped more than a minute from his performance at last week's Hodag Invite and placed sixth overall with a time of 18 minutes, 46.5 seconds.
"Race strategy is something we have to spend time on in the next couple weeks, for each kid. It's going to be different depending on how you go out and how you finish. I thought Weddle found himself in that area tonight," Laggis said. "Jacob Weddle ran a tremendously nice race."
Daniel Goldsworthy cracked the 20-minute mark for Rhinelander as he finished 12th overall (19:50.0). The rest of his Hodag teammates weren't far behind, as Rhinelander put several runners in the top 22 overall. Cal Laggis was 15th, Jaden Beske was 16th, JC Adams finished 18th, Levi Smith was 19th and Nicholas St. Pierre was 22nd.
"Daniel Goldsworthy just smashed where he was at this time last year and was our No. 2. Cal had a really nice race, dropped time himself as the No. 3 and Beske was the fourth," coach Laggis said. "I bring up both he and Goldsworthy because they really dropped a lot of time. It was nice to see and they're gaining some confidence."
Abbey Henrichs led the Hodag girls with a 14th-place finish. She completed the 5K course in 22:56.6. Ali DeNamur (19th) and Audrey Schiek (20th) also cracked the top 20 for Rhinelander. Emma Germain was 23rd, Sage Flory was 28th, Megan Brown was 34th and freshman Aubrey Younker was a newcomer to the Hodag top seven, placing 39th overall.
"The thing that jumps off the map at me is we have some kids that are interchangeable," Laggis said. "I think our strength may be 3-4-5-6-7 on both sides. It can be different any night and I think that's how we're going to get better, just that constant competition of trying to get to the next level."
Medford, the defending WIAA Division 2 girls' state champion, placed eight runners in the top 12 to run away with the team score on the girls' side. Mosinee was second followed by Rhinelander, Edgar, Spencer, Adams-Friendship, Crandon and Waupaca.
"Medford girls are light's out," Laggis said. "They're really good. Medford boys are solid. Lakeland girls and Medford girls are going to be a battle because they are really, really good. Mosinee's decent. There are a lot of good teams and we're just going to have to scratch and fight to move up."
Medford defeated Mosinee by 18 points for the boys' title. Rhinelander was 11 points behind Mosinee in third. Waupaca, Spencer and Crandon rounded out the field of qualifying teams.
Rhinelander races again next Tuesday in the Charger Invite at Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at email@example.com.
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