The Rhinelander High School cross country team finished in the top half of the field Tuesday in the 13-team Charger Invite in Wittenberg. The Hodag boys placed fourth overall, while the Hodag girls were fourth.
The meet awarded medals to the top 30 finishers in each race. Rhinelander had three boys and three girls medal in the competition.
"It was a good field of teams like always at Wittenberg," coach M.J. Laggis said. "It was hot and muggy and rough conditions like it always is at Wittenberg. We did all right."
Jacob Weddle paced the RHS boys, placing 10th in a field of 127 runners as he covered a hilly 5-kilometer course in 19 minutes, 23.40 seconds. Cal Laggis was 20th (20:06.68) and JC Adams finished 30th (20:35.28), earning the final medal over Menominee's Isaiah Moss by 0.12 seconds.
Levi Smith finished 40th for the Hodags, Daniel Goldsworthy was 43rd, freshman Cody Ruetz was 49th and Konnor Kennedy rounded out the varsity contingent with a 53rd-place finish.
"The boys were fourth and just a lot of improvement - we need more, but a lot of improvement," M.J. Laggis said. "We had three boys that medaled and had a couple of others that worked awfully hard but with the heat just didn't have the race they wanted."
Junior Abbey Henrichs led the RHS girls' squad for the third straight race. She was ninth in a field of 87 runners with a time of 23:21.27. Fellow junior Ali DeNamur was 21st overall (24:37.66) and sophomore Emma Germain (25:04.08) was 27th.
"We had three in the top 30. That's good," coach Laggis said. "We want to be better but, overall, we competed hard and we're showing improvement. That's the first step."
Sage Flory narrowly missed out on a medal, finishing 32nd. Audrey Schiek finished 35th, Megan Brown was 38th and Ella Schiek, battling a hip issue, was 40th to round out the Hodag varsity, just ahead of two other Hodag runners - Aubrey Younker in 41st and Ellie Van Camp in 42nd.
"Ella Schiek has been nicked up. She tried running today and maybe came back a little too soon. She started well, but she faded. She's got a hip issue going right now, a little injury," coach Laggis noted. "You talk about Aubrey Younker. She's just on the outside of those top (runners) looking in. She's just gotten better and better and better. She's just a freshman, a really nice kid and one of those you see being a backbone of the team-type down the road. I'm really excited for her."
Wittenberg-Birnamwood won the boys' division of its home invite followed by Shawano, Bonduel and Rhinelander. Shawano placed four in the top eight overall to win the girls' title. Bonduel, Rosholt, Amherst and Rhinelander rounded out the top five. Antigo was the only other Great Northern Conference school in the field and did not have enough runners to field a qualifying team in either the boys' or the girls' division.
The Hodags will take a break from competition until next Saturday when they travel to Wausau for the annual Bill Smiley Invitational at Tribute Golf Course.
"We have a couple days where we've got to get mileage in," coach Laggis said. "We're still getting base miles in. We've got to get miles in, we've got to get speed work in. We've got to keep with our practice plan - because I think it's been a good one. We've got a big meet coming up with Smiley and the competition will be fierce. That's another one of those days where you hold up the measuring stick and see where you're at."
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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