Central cross-country celebrates successful season

Members of the cross-country team are, front row left to right: Sumner Smith, Jacob Jansen, Megan Nemechek, Zhibek Kamalbek, Megan Rochleau, Peyton Alexie and Blake Rochleau; middle row left to right: Tom Shirbroun, Ashley Funk, Anna Tuecke, Grace Rodman, Carissa Moyna, Katja Graner, Hannah Kuehl and Josie Fettkether; and back row: Trevor Moser, Jacob Hauber, Marcus Siegwarth, Coach Mark Bauder, Sandi Anderson, Kiana Stender, Gabrielle Berns, Emily Asche, Haley Schroeder, volunteer assistant Cera Bauder, Torre Curran, Hunter Bries and Travis Prier.

The Central cross-country season was another successful one on both the boys and girls side of things. The boys ended their season with a tremendous team effort at the district meet where they finished 5th amongst numerous state rated teams.

“We knew the competition was excellent and the results of the state meet proved that to be true,” Coach Mark Bauder said.  “All three of the state qualifiers from our district placed in the top five in the state meet, so our boys can look at that and be proud of the fact that they were within seconds of being in the top tier at the state level. The boys will lose five seniors (Marcus Siegwarth, Peyton Alexie, Hunter Bries, Torre Curran and Jacob Hauber) and will definitely miss the depth they provided this season and the past four years. The boys can look ahead with confidence though as they will return three of our top seven varsity runners (Jacob Jansen, Travis Prier, Trevor Moser) and our alternates for the varsity team.”

“Tom Shirbroun also will be a returning letter winner after setting personal best marks for himself in every meet this season,” he added.  “There should also be some added talent coming in as freshmen next season. So, those returners, new freshmen and the graduation of many excellent seniors from area teams will set us up for next season.”

On the girls’ side, the season came to an end on a great note with our third place finish at the state meet.  This was their 2nd year in a row to finish as the 3rd place team in class 1A and the 7th time in the past nine years to place 5th or above at state.

“While most of the girls would agree that we had hoped to run good enough to place higher than third, Coach Bauder said.  “When you look back at it, it was still a huge accomplishment. They scored nearly 25 fewer points than last year and several of our finishers were faster than last year’s placings.  Overall nearly 80% of the runners at state were slower this year than last year, so we shouldn’t be too disappointed with our times. And while we will definitely miss the stabilizing force of our only senior (Gabrielle Berns), who had a personal best in all but two meets this whole season, we will return eight of our top nine state qualifiers (Haley Schroeder, Ashley Funk, Kiana Stender, Hannah Kuehl, Emily Asche, Carissa Moyna and alternates Anna Tuecke and Megan Nemechek) and four other letter winners (Sandi Anderson, Megan Rochleu, Josie Fettkether, Grace Rodman). New freshmen added to those returners should set us up for another excellent season with the ultimate goal of finishing higher at the state meet.”

“Individually we had a unique opportunity to have two foreign exchange students participate on our team,” he continued. “Zhibek Kamalbek and Katja Graner learned a lot about cross-country running and about how to push themselves day after day. It was great to have them as part of our team atmosphere. Individual highlights would include Haley Schroeder and Ashley Funk who finished in the top 25 at the state meet, Haley Schroeder who set three new course records, Hannah Kuehl, who had a personal best at every meet Carissa Moyna and Hannah Kuehl, who improved from state alternates last year to top seven varsity team members this year. Hunter Bries and Jacob Jansen had a personal best or tied their  best at every meet this year, Trevor Moser and Tom Shirbroun had a personal best at every meet.”

 By Pat McTaggart, Freelance Writer



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