MARSHFIELD – On a near perfect day for cross country race, the buzz of the day at Wildwood Park was the water hazard.
The muddy, shallow creek bed — located about 2/3 of the way through both boys and girls courses — has become on of the signature features of the course.
For most of the runners competing at Saturday’s 39th annual Marshfield Columbus Catholic invite it was a refreshing jolt during the races. Powerful Wayzata, Minn., won both the boys and girls overall titles, while the strong Edgar girls finished second in the Division 3 team standings and 14th overall in the 24-team event.
“I was starting to fade a little bit in the second mile and then got kind of rejuvenated after the water hazard and had a good finish,” said Edgar senior Jessi Krause, who led the Wilcats with a time of 16 minutes, 27 seconds. “We set our time goals for this meet and we use those to give us an idea of where we are an what we have to do to get to where we want to be at the end of the season.
“There is a lot of tough competition at this meet and running against the big Division 1 schools and the Minnesota schools helps us when we run against the teams in our division and conference,” Krause added.
The Edgar boys finished eighth in the Division 3 team standings and 23rd overall and were paced by junior Derek Edwards who clocked in at 18:56.
“It was fun to run against some really tough competition,” Edwards said. “Our first meet was kind of a warm-up meet, but this one was really competitive with the big schools. We know what we have to work on now.”
With an eighth place overall finish, the Colby/Abbotsford girls might be a team to keep an eye on this season.
Leading they way for Colby/Abbotsford Amanda Kaiser, who finished 27th overall in 16:25.
“Coach (Bryon) Graun told us today was race day,” Kaiser said. “There are some teams here that we will face at sectionals and he wanted us to see where we stand. Our first couple meets were kind of like a bigger practice, but this was a big race today.
“It was a great day to run and the course was fun, especially the water jump,” Kaiser added.
On the boys side, Nekoosa/Port Edwards’ 10th place overall finish with a new squad showed that the Papermakers are still a program to be reconed with.
“We went out hard because it was such a big race, but it as fun to compete against some great competition,” Nekoosa sophomore Josh Schraeder said. “The water pit was a fun part of the course and a good day to run.”
Leading Pacelli’s girls was sophomore Hannah Pisarski, who is running cross country for the first time this year.
“It’s a fun sport and different than track,” Pisarski said. “The water hazard was kind of tough, but it cooled me down and it was fun to run by the wolves in the zoo. I like cross country because there is such good sportsmanship with all the runners and I like that.”