Bluejays feel a little lost in the crowd
The Merrill cross country teams put two on the podium in Saturday’s huge Bill Smiley Invite, hosted by Wausau East.
“Smiley smiled on a couple of varsity runners on Saturday,” MHS coach Craig Hoffman said. “Seniors Reese Beyersdorf and Brady Schmelling both medaled in the D1 Small Schools and the remaining runners ran solid as a pack. But our race pace was off, and we certainly could have run better as individuals. Historically, our runners somehow drop their seasonal record pace during this race, and I’m not sure if it’s the sheer numbers running, or they’re just tired in the middle of season. Either way, we’ll rest up this next week, and will try to recapture our own invite at the MARC.”
Beyersdorf (18th, 18:23) and Schmelling (19th, 18:30) collected medals while Jacob Jensen (25th, 18:45), Brett Swan (33rd, 19:11) and Treven Oberg (37th, 19:20) scored. Losha Heisinger (45th, 19:47) and Nathan Koch (52nd, 20:16) competed.
The girls were paced by Kennedy Soderberg (47th, 18:20) and backed by Christa Schleif (59th, 19:26), Shelby Harris (63rd, 19:50), Mickenna Comstock (65th, 19:57), Morgan Pettit (71st, 21:21) and Gabby Schlegal (72nd, 22:30).
“Our varsity and JV girls teams are still working on competing at the level they need to,” Hoffman said. “I haven’t seen the competitive edge that they need to have to run and defeat their valley and non-conference opponents. As hard as the girls work during the week, I want them to enjoy some better times at the meets they run. Mid-season has passed, so they need to step it up a couple of notches to stay up with the rest of the competition. Individually, junior Kennedy Soderberg again showed some competitive effort at her first huge cross country meet and she didn’t let the numbers intimidate her. We need to bring the remaining six on our varsity squad closer to her times.”
Lakeland (37) tipped LaCrosse Central (52) for the D1 Small Schools boys’ title, and DeForest (104), Oregon (130), Merrill (132) and Shawano (144) followed. Pulaski (34) ran away from Wausau East (83), L.C. Logan (85), L.C. Central (97) and Lakeland (122) in the girls’ event.