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‘Jays second in Marawood

‘Jays second in Marawood ‘Jays second in Marawood

Smith of the Raiders wins the boys race

By Casey Krautkramer

Athens head cross country coach Korey Rottscheit knew his boys squad had a great shot at winning the Marawood Conference championship on Thursday in Phillips, considering three of his runners finished in the top eight to earn first team all-conference for the first time in his seven years at the helm.

Unfortunately for Athens, the boys barely missed winning the conference title by only two points. Phillips won the boys conference championship with a low score of 58 points, followed by Athens with 60. Auburndale and Marathon tied for third place with 85 points each. Chequamegon placed fifth with 101 points, Stratford was sixth with 123, Rib Lake seventh with 162 and Edgar eighth with 251.

Marathon sophomore Jacob Smith, the son of Aaron and Gina Smith, won the boys conference championship race in 18 minutes, 11.40 seconds. Athens sophomore Andrew Schaer, the son of Thomas and Tanya Schaer, took third place in 18:34.80, ahead of his teammates.

Athens junior Nathan Wolf placed fifth in 18:43.50 and Bluejays senior Brooks Kraus was sixth in 18:46.40.

Red Raiders junior Jaron Gage placed seventh in 18:46.40.

Andrew Schaer had been finishing races right behind his teammate, Nathan Wolf, throughout this season up until Thursday’s conference championship race in Phillips.

“I thought Nathan (Wolf) and Brooks (Kraus) were going to catch me but they never did,” he said.

This is Andrew Schaer’s first time earning first team all-conference honors during his short high school running career. He said it feels good to place third in the conference title race, but he believes he can run even faster in future races.

He has a bigger team goal in mind this season than winning the conference title.

“I think it would be cooler to win sectionals because that’s something the 2019 team couldn’t do,” he said.

The 2019 Athens boys squad, led by current UW-Parkside redshirt freshman cross country runner Johnathon Nowacki, won the Marawood Confer- ence title but it just missed finishing as one of the top two teams at its home sectional to qualify for the state championships. The 2019 Marathon boys and girls finished second to both qualify for the state championships in the same season for the first time in school history.

Andrew Schaer and his Athens teammates are hoping for a different result this Saturday, Oct. 23, at the WIAA Division 3 sectionals at Erbach Park in Athens. The Athens, Edgar, Marathon and Stratford boy cross country runners start their race at 3 p.m. in Athens, while the girls race begins at 4 p.m.

Marathon’s Jaron Gage, the son of Russell and Corissa Gage, took advantage of his opportunity to compete in the Marawood Conference cross country championship race in Phillips.

“Last year I got quarantined for COVID- 19 during the conference race, so this year I was really glad I could compete and get first team all-conference,” Jaron Gage said. “I’m really glad my teammate, Jacob (Smith) took first place at conference because I know he’s been working really hard this year, so he deserves to get first place and first team all-conference. We’ve both worked very hard this season, so hopefully sectionals goes even better for us.”

Runners who finish between ninth and 16th places are awarded second team all-Marawood Conference, and those who place between 17th and 24th are honorable mention all-conference. Freshman Ethan Heeg of Stratford took 11th place at the conference race in 19:03.70 and his teammate, junior Lance Krieg, was 12th in 19:04.50. Athens junior Connor Sheahan, who is running cross country this season after playing football last year, earned second team all-conference with a 15th-place finish in 19:13.

Stratford freshman Cree DeFoe took 17th place in 19:16.50 and Marathon sophomore Derek Vesely was 18th in 19:18. Red Raiders sophomore Dylan Dodson garnered honorable mention all-conference with a 24th-place finish in 19:34.10.

Athens freshman Nicholas Pittman placed 32nd in 20:01.80, Marathon senior Owen Marks was 38th in 20:24.50, Marathon junior Ian Blake 39th in 20:25.40, Stratford senior Brett Bangart 43rd in 20:48.50, Marathon junior Pierson Hamann 46th in 21:21.40, Stratford freshman Kaden Foster 47th in 21:29.60 and Marathon senior Noah Fritz 48th in 21:34.60.

Stratford senior Tanner Oertel placed 51st in 22:03.50, Stratford freshman Derek Wiese was 52nd in 22:05.40, Edgar junior Ethan Sondelski 54th in 22:54.10, Edgar freshman Eli Slack 55th in 23:56.10, Stratford sophomore Logan Wright 56th in 25:01.80, Edgar freshman Issac Halama 57th in 25:08.10, Edgar junior Robert Lienkamp 58th in 25:41.40, Athens sophomore Garrett Knott 59th in 26:11.30 and Edgar freshman Dylan Apfelbeck 60th in 27:29.90.

MANEUVERING AROUND THE BEND- Marathon sophomore cross country runner Jacob Smith (294) and junior Jaron Gage (291) take an early lead against Athens junior Nathan Wolf (252) in the Marawood Conference championship boys race on Thursday in rural Phillips. Smith ended up winning the race, while placed fifth and Gage was seventh. All three runners earn first team all-Marawood Conference honors this season.STAFF PHOTO/CASEY KRAUTKRAMER

GRUELING FINISH- Stratford freshman boys cross country runner Ethan Heeg (238) edges his junior teammate, Lance Krieg, at the finish line of the Marawood Conference championship race on Thursday in Phillips.STAFF PHOTO/CASEY KRAUTKRAMER