Tigers muscle to second
Wenzel finishes fifth in her first high school race
By Casey Krautkramer
Stratford freshman Kressa Wenzel took fifth place in her high school cross country race debut on Saturday morning, despite not feeling well nor wearing her own shoes.
Wenzel could only find one of her shoes with spikes on the bottom of them, so she borrowed a teammate’s pair of spiked shoes to run in the Marshfi eld Columbus Invite at Wildwood Zoo.
She was surprised she ran so well in her inaugural high school cross country race. Wenzel, who is the daughter of Bernie and Jen Wenzel of Stratford, is hoping she can help an experienced Tiger girls squad qualify for the WIAA Division 3 state championship race this season.
“It would feel really good to help my team make it to state,” she said. “My individual goal is to place in the top 10 runners in a few races this season, and I’m happy I’ve already accomplished it in my first race.”
Tiger’s head coach Kevin “Tiny” Michalski wasn’t shocked by Wenzel’s top-five race finish. Wenzel finished the 5,000-meter race in 22 minutes and 32 seconds, only three seconds behind Edgar sophomore Morgan Schnelle.
“Kressa is a great athlete and a hard worker; she’ll greatly help our girl’s varsity team this season,” Michalski said.
Both Stratford’s girls and boys cross country teams garnered second-place finishes on Saturday in their inaugural races this season. Wisconsin Rapids Assumption won the girl’s race and Chippewa Falls McDonell the boy’s race. The Edgar girl’s team placed third and the boys didn’t have a complete team.
Expectations are high for the Stratford girl’s cross country team this season, considering it has every runner back from last year’s team while adding a few talented freshmen. Michalski expects the girl’s squad to be at or near the top of its races this year.
Tigers junior Sarah Zuelke joined Wenzel in the top-10 runners with a ninth-place finish in 23:34.5. Sophomore Ella Heidmann placed 12th in 24:26.8, junior Lydia Golbach 14th in 24:39.7, sophomore Lauren Kraus 15th in 24:51.5, freshmen Bailey Linzmeier 19th in 25:40 and Lexie Christopherson 23rd in 26:13.9 and senior Maria Schoenfuss 45th in 31:37.2.
For the Stratford boys, senior Tyler Holocomb has taken over for the graduated James Heeg as the team’s top runner this season. Holocomb took eighth place in the Marshfield Columbus Invite in 20:21. Sophomore Lance Krieg placed 10th in 20:52. Senior Cody Miller edged his teammate, Bret Bangart, for a 12th-place finish in 21:37.4. Bangart placed 13th in 21:39.7, Tanner Oertel 16th in 22:58.2 and Logan Wright 28th in 26:32.9.
Michalski said the future looks bright for Stratford’s cross country program.
“We also have a strong group of eighth grade boys, including James Heeg’s younger brother, Ethan, this season,” he said. “Eighth-grade girls Kayla Casperson and Breleigh Skaya are also very good runners.”
This is Michalski’s third season as Stratford’s boys and girl’s head varsity cross country coach. Adam Schnare is the Tigers’ middle school head coach and former Stratford cross country standout Johnelle Minor is an assistant coach this season.
Edgar senior Cole Schilling took 11th place in 21:12.9 during Saturday’s Marshfield Columbus Invite at Wildwood Zoo. Schilling, who is the son of Ryan and Lisa Schilling of Edgar, realizes the Edgar boy’s team can’t score points in races this season because it’s only sophomore Ethan Sondelski and him running for the Wildcats. Edgar would need three more high school boys running cross country to have a complete team that could then score points in races.
Not having a full team, however, won’t limit Schilling’s individual goal of qualifying for the state championship race in his final high school season.
“It’s a long shot at this point for me to make it to state as an individual cross country runner, but I’ve still got lots of improvements to make, and if I work hard then I could make it to Season-opening
state,” he said. “I just want to see what I can make happen this season.”
Sondelski placed 27th in the Marshfi eld Columbus Invite race in 25:55.4.
Sixteen Edgar girl cross country runners competed in the Marshfield Columbus Invite on Saturday morning.
Sophomore Morgan Schnelle led the Wildcats with a fourth-place finish in 22:29.5, followed by senior Rachel Brewster in eighth in 23:14.9.
Gretchen Brewster placed 17th in 25:28.9, Amber Skryzchak 18th in 25:34.3, Ella Morse 20th in 25:51.2, Brooklyn Schwoerer 21st in 25:52.1, Rebecca Werner 28th in 26:44.8 and Alexa Lang 33rd in 28:00.4.
Also, Maria Hackel placed 37th in 29:28.6, Jessica Mucha 39th in 29:49.1, Jasmine Schnelle 40th in 30:32.1, Valerie Czech 41st in 30:32.3, Rachel Schneider 46th in 32:59.8, Dailyn Schmitt 48th in 35:14.5, Erica Socha 49th in 35:47.1 and Valerie Myszka 51st in 39:53.
The Athens, Edgar, Marathon and Stratford cross country runners will compete this Thursday, Sept. 10, at what’s being called The Record-Review meet held at Erbach Park in Athens.