Cross country teams plan on running fast with young athletes
By Mark Anderson
The Staples-Motley girls and boys cross country teams will both be very young, but they both plan to be very fast this year.
“We have good numbers and good athletes,” said Coach Bruce Fuhrman. “The boys have a solid nine to ten runners and the girls have a lot of new faces. The jury is out on how good they are going to be.”
Two of the senior leaders who were on varsity last year, Alex Miller and Blake Gerard, will not run this year due to medical issues, but are still at every practice, helping the team with their guidance and knowledge.
“I love being a mentor,” said Miller. “We have a lot of new girls, some haven’t ever run in a meet yet. They need someone to look up to.”
Gerard said “It takes a lot to run a race, it’s not just running, there’s strategy and all the things you do before you start a race.”
For the girls team, Taylor Yungbauer and Mikayla Sauber are co-captains.
Sauber said they are improving the team by getting the younger runners to learn about the sport. “We’re running with them and pushing them to be the best we can be,” she said.
Yungbauer said the team is keeping a positive attitude. “We are competitive, we want to beat each other, but we also want to keep a positive attitude,” she said.
Other experienced runners include Emma Colsen, Julia Trantina, Jorie Ihme, Kaitlyn Smith, Kira Sweeney and Abby Brown. Seventh grade runners include Madysen Hull, Ameara Chenoweth, Addison Lorber and Mackenzie Wilds.
“This is a hard working group of girls and who have a desire to be strong. There are many new faces and I admire how they compete in practice,” said Coach Fuhrman. “This could be the team to follow this season.”
Fuhrman said Pequot Lakes and Park Rapids have powerful lineups returning to the conference, as does Morris Area Section 6A.
The cross country boys have a young team that has hopes of getting to state.
“We don’t want to end up like we did last year in the section,” said captain Colemen Klimek, referring to the team’s fifth place finish that they thought could be higher.
“We learned what we have to do to get where we want to go,” said Gerard.
Co-Captain Nick Tabatt said the team is in better shape early this year. “We worked harder in captain’s practices, “ he said.
“We are in a way better spot,” said Gerard. “We are running every extra mile and working overtime. If (coach) Bruce tells us to run ten 400s, we run eleven.”
About the young runners, Tabatt said “We have a lot of people in the same age group running together, that’s a good strategy to have.” Tabatt said team unity is also important. “We rely on each other,” he said.
The varsity and junior varsity competition will have a lot of people in the mix. Finn Erholtz and Ben Bartczak are two 10th graders new to cross country but they have had stellar track seasons so they are not strangers to running. Other sophomores are Braydon Christensen, Trenton Plopper, Jack Benson and Bentley Christensen.
Freshmen runners will be Jack Tyrrell, Hunter Klimek, Isaac Christoffersen and Cael Sams. Two eighth graders with high expectations are Emmet Anderson and Tanner Robben.
“It will be exciting to watch the team become competitive,” said Coach Fuhrman.
Detroit Lakes and Pequot Lakes will have strong conference teams while Crosby-Ironton could parallel the young Staples-Motley team. In Section 6A, West Central Area has a host of great athletes returning.
The Cardinal cross country teams open the season on Monday, Aug. 29, at Blueberry Pines Golf Course in Menahga at 10 a.m. This is a shared meet that will be held in Staples again next year. They also run at Wadena on Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 4:30 p.m.