Over 160 runners on WHS cross country team

With over 160 runners on the team in grades 7-12, it’s no surprise that the Waconia cross country team has nearly  20 seniors including, front row: Katie Torgeson, Alana Kiel, Ashley Millerbernd, Kalie Christensen, Jeni Haler, and Megan Runyon; middle row: Emily Jaeger, Brynn Everett, Jackie O’Konek, Nora Stevenson, Mackenzie Loutzenhiser, and Liz Hughes; back row: Alec Bohman, Tanner Riebel, Justin Reinke, Adam Kirsch, and Ben Vaske. Patriot photo by Melissa Marohl

With over 160 runners on the team in grades 7-12, it’s no surprise that the Waconia cross country team has nearly 20 seniors including, front row: Katie Torgeson, Alana Kiel, Ashley Millerbernd, Kalie Christensen, Jeni Haler, and Megan Runyon; middle row: Emily Jaeger, Brynn Everett, Jackie O’Konek, Nora Stevenson, Mackenzie Loutzenhiser, and Liz Hughes; back row: Alec Bohman, Tanner Riebel, Justin Reinke, Adam Kirsch, and Ben Vaske. Patriot photo by Melissa Marohl

Team: Waconia boys’ and girls’ cross country
Coach: Clark Machtemes
Assistant coaches: Sandy Wasness, Christian Gilbert, Jake Hawkinson, Audra Lehrke, and Don Skerik
Conference: Wright County
Section: 2AA – Buffalo, Chanhassen, Chaska, Dassel-Cokato, Delano, Holy Family, Hutchinson, Mankato East, Mankato West, Marshall, Mound-Westonka, Orono, Shakopee, and Worthington

2011 finish: The girls had a strong season in 2011, winning at Delano, their home invitational, and at Watertown-Mayer. They finished third Dassel-Cokato, third at the WCC championship meet, and seventh at sections. Lexi Willems won three races, finished sixth at the WCC meet, and was 14th at sections (top 10 advanced to state). Kelsey Eder was second at Delano.

The boys struggled last season, peaking in the first meet where they finished second at Delano. They finished fifth (of 13) at home, sixth (of nine) at Dassel-Cokato, ninth (of nine) at the WCC meet, fourth at Watertown-Mayer, and 15th (of 15) at sections. Tony Fulkerson won the Delano meet last year and finished third at Watertown-Mayer.

Key returnees: Along with many of 2011’s point-earning runners, this season promises the return of All-Conference runners Willems and Eder for the Wildcat girls, and All-Conference Honorable Mention runner Ben Vaske for the boys.

Sheer numbers: This year, it will take four buses to get the WHS team to each meet. There are upwards of 160 runners on the Waconia cross country teams, ranging from grades 7-12. Ten percent of the high school population is involved in cross country, with over 125 runners from grades 9-12. “If success is in the numbers, we’ve got that,” Machtemes said.

Teams to beat: For Machtemes, Mound-Westonka and Hutchinson are this season’s WCC teams to beat. “We want to do as much damage as we can,” he said. When it comes section time, Machtemes is gunning to keep up with Shakopee, which boasts three-time state champion Maria Hauger.

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