On Tuesday, Sept. 17, the Bulldogs cross country team hosted the first of three meets held here this season. Out of six teams the boys took second to Morris Area High School once again.
Morris has attended all of the first four meets that Paynesville has attended. Morris has won all four. At the first meet in Morris, they beat the Bulldogs by over 100 points. At the second meet in Brooten, they beat the Bulldogs by 50. At the third meet in New London, the margin was only 15 points. Last week, here in Paynesville, the Bulldogs took second to Morris by 10 points.
"We're closing the gap," said coach Rick Houske.
"We're improving at a faster rate than they are," said senior captain Ryan Louis.
''If we're going to make it to the State Championship, we're going to have to beat either Morris or Staples in the Section 6A race," team member Dan Johnson said. "It will more than likely have to be Morris, because last year the Staples team was made up of seventh and eighth graders and they are going to get nothing but stronger."
Staples won the Section 6A race last year.
Nathan Bork was the Bulldog's first runner last Tuesday with a sixth place finish out of 40 runners. Dan Johnson came into the chute two seconds later in seventh place. The two received medals.
Also receiving medals were seniors Doug Utsch and Andy Heinen who finished in 11th and 15th. These two have become very reliable members of the team.
The team's fifth runner was Matt Jorgensen. He was 18th, followed by Ryan Louis in 19th and Chad Hollander in 31st.
The Bulldogs are looking forward to the return of junior Aaron Wendlandt. Wendlandt has been unable to run due to a back injury. He was the team's top runner last year.
"'If we can get Aaron back, we're going to be absolutely unstoppable," senior Matt Jorgensen said.
1) Morris 47
2) Paynesville 57
3) Albany 60
4) Wadena-Deer Creek 84
5) Hillcrest 129
6) Nathan Bork 18:26
7) Dan Johnson 18:28
11) Doug Utsch 18:42
15) Andy Heinen 19:01
18) Matt Jorgensen 19:10
19) Ryan Louis 19:12
31) Chad Hollander 10:35
On Saturday, the Paynesville cross country team traveled to Princeton for their fifth meet of the season. Princeton is the world's largest cross country meet. The varsity team was 14th out 51 teams.
The meet was held at a local campground and Christmas tree farm. The race course wound through the evergreen trees on a ten-foot wide path. Try and imagine over three hundred runners in each race fighting their way through an area so small. There was more than a little pushing and shoving. Getting to the front of the pack early in the race was a must.
Dan Johnson was the team's first runner in 44th place. Matt Jorgensen met his goal to finish under a hundred and finished in 92nd place. Both ran very well.
Andy Heinen continues to run strong as does Doug Utsch. They finished in 117th and 129th. Ryan Louis was 207th and Chad Hollander was 219th. Josh Frenchick finished his first varsity race in 265th place. By running a varsity race, he recieved his letter in cross country. Congradulations Josh.
44) Dan Johnson 17:45
92) Matt Jorgensen 18:15
117)Andy Heinen 18:29
129)Doug Utsch 18:39
207)Ryan Louis 19:25
219)Chad Hollander 19:36
265)Josh Frenchick 20:21
Eric Werlinger and Nathan Pelz ran to strong finishes in the junior varsity race of 185th and 211th. Class A, AA and AAA ran together in the JV race.
Luke Trees ran by himself in the ninth grade race and finished in 18th place in the 1 1/4 mile race.
The junior high boys finished in 4th place overall in the eighth grade race out of 51 teams.
Leading the charge was Clayton Lang in 19th place. Ryan Flanders and Eric Rausch were 78th and 86th. Eric Korman and Andrew Jones were 91st and 121st. Travis Flanders and Adam Utsch finished strong with 159th and 184th.
The team's next meet is here in Paynesville tomorrow at 4:30. Please come and cheer the team on!
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