2023 CROSS-COUNTRY SEASON UP AND RUNNING
Thirty-four runners from three area schools — 20 from Freeman Academy and Freeman Public and 14 from Menno — have embarked on the 2023 cross-country season. While practices have been taking place for a number of weeks, competition began last Friday, Aug. 25 with the Beresford Invitational and continued with Freeman Academy/Marion and Freeman Public running at the McCook Central/Montrose Invitational on Tuesday.
All three teams are once again running in Region 3B, with the Bearcats again coached by Suzanne Koerner, the Flyers again coached by Sherry Remboldt, and the Wolves led by first-year head coach Rachael Massey, who replaces Cindee Mutchelknaus at the helm.
While many of the runners are younger, two veterans are expected to lead the charge for area teams this year. Freeman Academy/Marion senior Tavin Schroeder is expected to be one of the top runners in Class B this season, and Menno senior Ashton Massey will be eyeing her sixth state cross-country meet in as many years.
Marion junior Finley McConniel is also expected to have a strong season and will help put the Bearcat boys in the hunt for another strong team finish this postseason.
And look for Brayden Magel — who was the top-placing seventh-grader at the state cross-country meet last year with 62nd-place finish in the field of 114 — to have a strong season.
The photos included on this page and on page 6B offer a look at who’s running on this year’s teams from all three schools, and what follows is a recap of the first two meets of the season.
Watch for more from the coaches following the Freeman Academy/Marion Invitational at the Prairie Arboretum on Sept. 6 and the Flyer Invitational at Valley View Golf Course on Sept. 13.
Competing against nearly 100 runners from schools of all sizes, Freeman Academy/Marion senior Tavin Schroeder finished eighth at the Beresford Early Bird Invitational last week, as cross-country teams from around the state opened their 2023 fall season.
Schroeder crossed the 5,000-meter course in 16:54.07, which was the top time among Class B competitors. And Schroeder’s teammate Finley McConniel had a strong race, as well; the Marion junior placed 19th in the field of 99 with a 17:33.37 clocking.
The Bearcats’ third runner, Marion junior Hayden Schmidt, placed 62nd in 20:11.73 — a push that gave the FA/Marion boys eighth in the team standings, which was the best of any Class B team.
Also representing the Bearcat boys was Jayson Allison, a Freeman Academy sophomore who placed 87th in 21:34.70.
For the Freeman Academy/Marion girls, Estelle Waltner led the way with a 33rd place finish among 79 runners in the varsity race, finishing the 5,000-meter course in 22:19.37.
FA junior Sieta Wiersema placed 18th out of 83 runners in the girls JV 4,000-meter race with a time of 19:10.62 while FA sophomore Armando Miller finished 80th in a field of 134 in the boys JV 4,000-meter race in 19:04.46.
A host of other area runners competed at the Beresford Invitational held Friday, Aug. 25. Here’s a look.
For the Flyers, their best showings came from seventh-grader Olivia Schultz and eighth-grader Brayden Mangel. Schultz placed 18th out of 109 runners in the junior high 3,000-meter race in a time of 13:31.34 while Mangel was 37th in the varsity race with an 18:53.82 clocking.
Also for Freeman Public:
n reshman Lane McCune was 52nd in the varsity race in a time of 19:49.00;
n ompeting in the JV competition and field of 134, sophomore Gideon Rembold was 116th in 20:55.58 while freshman Owen Andersen was 127th in 22:15.62;
n nd in the junior high race, sixth-grader Korbin Jensen finished 37th in 12:34.07; seventh-grader Josh Oleson was 46th in 12:46.33; sixth-grader Collin Randall was 47th in 12:46.33; seventh-grader Liam Loofbourrow was 98th in 15:04.08; and eighth-grader Pete Rembold was 119th in 17:39.22.
For the Wolves at Beresford, senior Ashton Massey led the team, finishing 20th in the varsity competition with a time of 21:07.56. Freshman Zoe Schaeffer was 39th in 22:43.42 and freshman Ashlynn Fergen was 73rd in 27:18.27.
Also for Menno:
n ophomore Erick Buechler finished 45th in the varsity competition in 19:41.37;
n n the boys junior high competition and field of 127, seventh-graders Danniel Schaeffer and Egan Mettler finished 57th and 86th, respectively, with clockings of 13:03.60 and 14:13.11;
n n the girls junior high race of 109, seventh-graders Ivana Schaeffer was 63rd in 15:26.13; Savanah Wielenga was 65th in 15:32.36; Leah Crick was 75th in 16:05.92; Emma Rempfer was 98th in 10:04.90; Briley Cross was 99th in 19:08.54; and eighth graders Emmalyn Heckenlaible was 102nd in 20:11.81 and Baily Neuharth was 105th in 21:49.78.
Tavin Schroeder won and Finley McConniel was 3rd to lead the Freeman Academy/Marion cross-country team at the McCook Central/Montrose Invitational at the McCook Country Club on Tuesday, Aug. 29. Schroeder crossed the 5,000-meter course in 16:55.16 — almost 30 seconds in front of runner-up Joseph Laprath of Winner — while McConniel clocked a 17:26.61.
Jayson Allison and Hayden Schmidt finished 12th and 13th in the 61-runner field in 19:46.47 and 19:56.00.
For the varsity girls, Estelle Waltner placed 8th in the 47-runner field in a time of 21:37.52.
For the FA/M JV boys, Kolter Schmidt finished 16th and Armando Miller was 19th out of 97 runners with clockings of 17:10.73 and 17:18.96 in the 4,000-meter course. Camdyn Preheim was 57th in 20:03.30.
In the JV girls division, Sieta Wiersema was 5th out of 59 runners in a time of 19:33.08.
For the Flyers, Brayden Mangel led the way by placing 6th in the varsity race in a time of 19:09.06, while Lane McCune finished 10th in 19:37.17.
In the JV boys division, Owen Andersen was 54th in 19:48.64 and Gideon Rembold was 87th in 22:55.45.