As the weather shifts from fall to winter, so do the sports. With the state meet on Nov. 3, the cross country season has come to a close throughout the state.
For the second year running, no Waconia cross country athlete advanced to the state meet, which was hard, but not shocking, for head coach Clark Machtemes. Machtemes said the runners gave it their all at the section meet on Oct. 26.
Despite hardships plaguing both the boys’ and girls’ squads, the Wildcats still maintained a successful running season.
“A season plagued by sickness and injury be a season that will be remembered for togetherness and hard work,” Machtemes said. “And that’s what it’s all about.”
The girls’ won three meets, including Delano (Sept. 13), their home meet (Sept. 18), and Watertown-Mayer (Oct. 16). At Delano, junior Lexi Willems won the race and teammate Alora Rands was third. The Wildcats were second at Norwood Young America on Sept. 11, with all seven varsity runners finishing in the top 45. The girls also picked up a second place finish at Dassel-Cokato on Sept. 25.
At the Wright County Conference meet on Oct. 11 at Delano, the girls’ team was sixth of the 11 conference teams. Willems earned All-Conference honors with her eighth place finish. The Section 2AA meet was Oct. 26 at Buffalo, where the girls fell short of state, finishing ninth of 15 teams.
Mid-September brought the most success for the Wildcat boys. Peaking at Delano on Sept. 13, the boys finished second of six teams at the meet. They also brought home two third place finishes, at the home meet on Sept. 18 and at Dassel-Cokato on Sept. 25.
Battling illness and injury, the Wildcats finished tenth of 11 teams at the WCC meet on Oct. 11, and were 15th (of 15) at sections on Oct. 26.
With so many runners on the team – Waconia finished the season with over 150 – many faces will be returning next season. For the girls, varsity starters Lexi Willems, Kelsey Eder, Alora Rands, Mica Aslakson, and Carissa Dock will be depended on to carry the Wildcats. Kortney Luedloff, Mikaela Kauma, Allyson Marrs, Sam Wilsey, and Alissa Helle also logged varsity minutes this season.
Tony Fulkerson, Jacob Tereau, Miles Trujillo, and David Hughes led the Wildcat boys in 2012. Landin Goloja, Joey Kortuem, Alex Carrabre, and Josh Rands also made waves as varsity members this season.
The team will lose 20-plus seniors this year. The girls’ will lose varsity starters Rhi McNulty and Nora Stevenson, two runners who Machtemes said he will be “sad to see go.” Ben Vaske and Adam Kirsch will depart for the Wildcat boys, leaving two holes in the varsity lineup.
“Ben and Adam will both be missed,” Machtemes said. “But that’s the way it goes.”