Brothers David, left, and Nathanael Gibbs race in the Hatchet Invitational cross country race at Edgewater Country Club in Tomahawk Saturday, Oct. 12. The Hodag boys placed fifth in the 12-team meet. (Photos by Brett LaBore/Lakeland Times)
Rhinelander’s Emma Germain races in the Hatchet Invitational cross country race at Edgewater Country Club in Tomahawk Saturday, Oct. 12.
10/15/2019 7:32:00 AM Hodag harriers place fifth in Tomahawk
On a chilly Saturday in Tomahawk, the Rhinelander High School cross country team got a taste of what its competition will be like the rest of the month.
The Hodags placed fifth in both the boys' and girls' divisions of the 12-team Hatchet Invite in Tomahawk, which served a couple of purposes for Rhinelander down the road. For starters, Medford and Northland Pines were the only GNC schools missing from the field one week before the conference heads to the Gartzke Flowage near Antigo for the GNC meet. Secondly, all of the GNC, plus a few other schools will be back in Tomahawk in two weeks time for a WIAA Division 2 sectional race.
Race conditions were similar to last year's sectional race, which saw periods of sleet and snow. The race time was pushed back by more than an hour due to cold temperatures. Even then, the mercury read in the mid 30s by the time the gun sounded and there were periods of snow flurries during the event.
"It was windy, snow coming down sideways," Rhinelander coach M.J. Laggis said. "I'm frozen to the core still. The course was in really nice shape as always and it was a really nice preview. I just hope, at sectional time, we get a little less wind and maybe a few degrees warmer."
Sophomore Cal Laggis paced the boys' crew, taking 17th overall with a time of 18:12.3. Jacob Weddle (25th, 18:26.1), Jaden Beske (27th, 18:36.9) and Daniel Goldsworthy (33rd, 18:57.6) all cracked the 19-minute mark for the Hodags.
The rest of the Hodag contingent included David Gibbs in 38th (19:07.0), Nathanael Gibbs in 44th (19:30.9) and JC Adams in 48th (19:47.0).
"We battled hard. It was really nice to run that sectional course for the boys," coach Laggis said. "The teams that are going to win that are doing a lot of low 17s, and that's what it's going to be. We've got a lot of guys in the 18s - a definite step up from a year ago, but not among the elite yet."
Rhinelander's results on the girls' side closely mirrored that of the boys. Ali DeNamur led the way in 17th overall (21:38.3), followed closely by teammate Abbey Henrichs in 19th (21:48.8).
Audrey Schiek was 26th for the Hodags (22:20.7) followed by Emma Germain in 36th (22:42.8), Sage Flory in 42nd (23:04.9), Ella Schiek in 44th (23:36.8) and Megan Brown in 46th (24:10.8).
"It was about what you'd expect. You had Ali DeNamur up front with Abbey Henrichs," coach Laggis said. "Our girls are a steadily improving group and a pretty athletic bunch, but it doesn't change the fact that we have to keep trying to get faster and keep trying to be a stronger team."
Tomahawk and Lakeland dominated the event, with Tomahawk edging Lakeland for the team title in both the boys' and girls' divisions. Tomahawk's Noah Buckwalter won the boys' race with a time of 17:00.8 while Lakeland's Ashley Peterson took the girls' race in 19:17.3. Laggis said both teams, along with Medford, will be the likely favorites heading into this Saturday's GNC meet.
"You can just see the difference when you watch Tomahawk girls run, Lakeland girls run and you watch us, we're not quite there yet. That's not a negative, that's just where we need to get to," he said. "There was a very good field of competitors today. You had Tomahawk, Lakeland, New London, Chequamegon. You had some really nice teams there and we were really challenged. It was really good for us."
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at email@example.com.
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