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Thurs returns to her normal stride

Thurs returns to her normal stride Thurs returns to her normal stride

Raiders’ junior wins first race held this season

By Casey Krautkramer

Marathon junior Julianna Thurs picked up right where she left off after her freshman season, by winning the Marathon Invite on Thursday at Frey Field in Spencer. She helped the Red Raider girls capture the meet championship.

Thurs edged Athens junior Elizabeth Van Rixel to capture first place in 21 minutes, 25 seconds in the first race for local teams this season. Van Rixel was runners-up in 21:37.8 and Marathon sophomore Jada Prihoda placed third in 22:03.1.

Marathon cross country coach EJ Otto was impressed with Thurs’ race performance on Thursday to begin this season.

“Julianna ran a strong race as she took the lead and never looked back,” Otto said. “Jada also ran a great race, and Jada and Julianna are going to compliment each other really well this season; they are both lead runners.”

Thurs took last year off from running cross country for Marathon after attending Wausau West at the beginning of last school year. She qualified for the WIAA Division 3 state cross country championship race during her freshman season. Jada Prihoda was Marathon’s top runner last season while Thurs was gone.

Fourteen Marathon girl runners competed in their home invite on Thursday. Kayla Radtke took seventh place in 22:32.6, Laci Hoeksema 11th in 23.33.7, Kali Prihoda 15th in 24:23, Camryn Sapinski 17th in 24:27.4 and Anna Cleven 19th in 24:30.3.

Otto was also proud of how well Radtke ran in the season-opening race.

“Kayla has had outstanding fall practices; she has really trained hard and it showed in her race because she stayed relaxed and ran a smart race,” Otto said.

Marathon’s Ava Buchberger placed 23rd in 25:22.8, Brianna Hieronumus 27th in 25:58.6, Chentaly Phakitthong 35th in 28:16, Chloe Lavalley 38th in 28:43, Alisha Blenker 39th in 28:43.8, Laila Smith 43rd in 30:11.3 and Paige Blount 48th in 43:44.8.

Addyson Zettler and Van Rixel were Athens’ only girl competitors in the race. Zettler took 18th place in 24:28.8. Athens head coach Korey Rottscheit was pleased with Van Rixel’s race performance, because she nearly pulled off the invite championship win.

“Elizabeth ran a very good race; she is a very motivated runner who pushes herself each and every day,” Rottscheit said. “I was very impressed on how she ran her first race of the season. I can see even more improvement coming from Elizabeth over the course of this season.”

Krasselt dazzles

Marathon senior Cullen Krasselt ran to a third-place finish at the Marathon Invite in 19:11.7. Jaron Gage placed seventh in 19:21, Jacob Smith 21st in 20:39.4, Owen Marks 24th in 20:50.4, Derrick Scheiderer 26th in 21:10.2 and Ian Blake 33rd in 22:08.2.

Also, Marathon’s Colton Free placed 41st in 23:11.5, Pierson Hamann 43rd in 23:11.8, Michael Kindlarski 46th in 24:06.4, Eddie Hall 48th in 24:25.8 and Brandon Gitzlaff 50th in 25:37.3.

Otto was pleased with how well the Red Raider boys ran in Thursday’s meet.

“Cullen has put in a lot of time over the summer training, which showed in the race,” he said. “Jaron is picking up right where he left off last year, which is a good sign of things to come with continued work. This race was a new experience for everyone involved as it was run in waves. It completely changed how we approach things strategy wise but the kids did a wonderful job adapting.” Athens sophomore Nathan Wolf took fifth place in 19:19.7 while Brooks Kraus was 10th in 20:00.7, Andrew Schaer 11th in 20:02.5 and Garrett Knott 53rd in 32:28.

Rottscheit is happy his young boys runner, Wolf, keeps improving from the end of last season to the beginning of this year.

“Nathan is looking strong this year; our goal is for him to continue working on running with good form and closing races at the end of them,” Rottscheit said. “He had a very nice finish at the meet and I’m very excited about Nathan’s potential this season.”

LEADER OF THE PACK-Marathon junior Julianna Thurs (593) gets out to an early lead against her competition in the Marathon Invite on Thursday at Frey Field in Spencer. Athens junior Elizabeth Van Rixel runs right behind Thurs, along with Marathon sophomore Jada Prihoda.STAFF PHOTOS/ROSS PATTERMANN