Setting the pace
With the right mix of experience and attitude, the Marshfield girls and boys cross country teams show promise
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield cross country team is 62 runners strong, creating depth, competition, and hope for a great upcoming season.
As is the case every year, the Tigers open their season with a pair of meets at their home course at Wildwood Park. Marshfield will compete in the Columbus Catholic Invitational on Saturday morning and will follow that up by hosting its own Marshfield Tiger Invitational on Tuesday.
Marshfield coach Dan Akin said he thinks the Tigers are capable of having a strong start to the season.
“We are hoping to match times early in the season that they were running at the end of last year,” Akin said. “We have had good competition among the entire team. The returning runners averaged about 15 seconds better per person at the Alumni Race (on Aug. 22 at Braem Park) compared to last year.”
The Tigers’ girls squad looks promising with 10 seniors and a number of its top runners from last year returning.
Seniors Morgan Irish, Dani Bender, Maddison Clemens, and Molly Schuster are back along with sophomores Lilly O’Brien and Sophia Schrodi. Freshman Julianna Kollross rounds out the varsity lineup heading into Saturday.
Another freshman, Jocie Anderson, and senior Courtney Brown will also be among those competing for varsity slots as the year progresses.
“We have a solid group of girls that have a chance to fight for varsity spots,” Akin said. “Morgan looks tough. Dani is coming off a great track season. I have been doing this a long time, and this is one of the better groups attitude-wise that I have ever had.”
That positive attitude spills over to the boys squad, who have no healthy seniors and will have a seven-man varsity squad consisting of four sophomores and three freshmen.
Carter Chojnacki, one of the freshmen, led the Tigers at the Alumni Race with a time of 11:17, just three seconds behind winner Nolan Redetzke, a college sophomore.
Sophomores Jordan Dzikowich, Paul Fischer, and Sam Huettl all saw plenty of action on the varsity as freshmen last year. They will be joined by two more freshmen — Eli Swanson and Jacob Dick — and sophomore Jared Oemig.
“These freshmen are hungry and like to run,” Akin said. “They are very competitive. The kids have been really working hard with a great attitude and a great work ethic.”’
Paul Lecker is publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com, a contributor to Hub City Times Sports. You can reach him by email at email@example.com.