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Schnelle assumes top spot

Schnelle assumes top spot Schnelle assumes top spot

She takes over for Ellenbecker as Edgar’s No. 1

By Casey Krautkramer

There might never be another Edgar girls cross country runner who is as good as Marissa Ellenbecker was during her illustrious high school career.

Ellenbecker is one of only 12 female cross country competitors among all three WIAA divisions to win two individual state championships during her four-year high school career.

She took third place at state as a freshman before winning back-to-back state titles. Ellenbecker concluded her outstanding high school running career with a 10th-place finish at state last year.

Ellenbecker has since graduated from Edgar High School and she’s now attending college at Division 2 University of Minnesota State-Mankato, where she’ll run both cross country and track and field.

This means it’s time for Edgar sophomore Morgan Schnelle, the daughter of Shawn and Mandy Schnelle, to assume the role as the girls cross country team’s No.-1 competitor this season. She’s up for the challenge.

“Our team misses Marissa very much but I’ll try to do my best to take over as our team’s top runner,” Morgan Schnelle said. “Marissa taught me to always be strong, rest after races and do my best to represent Edgar well.”

As only a freshman last year, Morgan Schnelle took fourth place at the Marawood Conference race last season at Frey Field in rural Spencer to earn first team all-conference honors. She placed fifth at the WIAA Division 3 sectional race at Erbach Park in Athens to qualify as an individual to compete at the WIAA Division 3 state championship race at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids, where she took 17th place.

Dennis Webb, Edgar varsity head cross country coach, believes Morgan Schnelle’s work ethic as a runner can amount to her enjoying even more success in her next three years in high school.

“I feel Morgan has definitely continued with a great work ethic; she has put in a ton of miles this summer and is ready to race,” Webb said. “Morgan will definitely be the team’s No. 1 girl runner because in practices she challenges the boys to run farther and faster; she’s a great kid.”

Other top returning Edgar girl cross country runners this season are senior Rachel Brewster, junior Maria Hackel and sophomores Alexa Lang, Jessica Mucha, Brooklyn Schwoerer, Gretchen Brewster and Ella Morse.

Top newcomers to the Wildcat girl’s squad this year are freshmen Valerie Czech, Rebecca Werner, Amelia Gajewski, Dailyn Schmitt and Erica Socha.

Morgan Schnelle has the luxury of having her mother, Mandy, as an Edgar middle and high school assistant cross country coach this season. Tom Normington is again the Wildcats head middle school cross country coach.

“My mom’s a very good person for me in my life and I can always go to her with any questions I have,” Morgan Schnelle said. “My goal is to win an individual Marawood Conference championship this season, even though it’ll be hard to do it. So far practices are going well; I’m enjoying the team aspect of practices instead of running by myself, because my teammates and I are encouraging each other to do our best this season.”

Senior Cole Schilling anchors the Edgar boy’s cross country team this season. The boy’s team doesn’t have the required five runners needed this year to score points in races. Sophomore Ethan Sondelski is the only other boy runner on Edgar’s squad this season.

“Cole returns after dealing with a season-long injury last season; he’ll bring a lot of experience to our races,” Webb said. “Although Ethan is new to running cross country, he’s a hardworking athlete who should show a ton of improvement during every race this season.”

Webb believes the Edgar girl’s cross country team has a solid chance at capturing the Marawood Conference championship this season.

“Team captain Rachel Brewster has really done a great job pulling the girls together to create a unique bond and chemistry,” he said. “How that team chemistry develops will be the key to our success.

“The Marawood Conference has some of the toughest competition in the state. Marathon, Wisconsin Rapids Assumption, Auburndale, Stratford and Athens are all going to field incredibly talented teams. The conference championship will probably be going to the team that stays the healthiest in October.”

LADY WILDCATS RETURN PLENTY OF TALENT-Jessica Mucha, shown here competing in the Marawood Conference championship race last year, is one of several experienced cross country runners back for Edgar this season.STAFF PHOTO/CASEY KRAUTKRAMER