BY DAVE PEDERSEN
CROW RIVER NEWS
Participation in cross country at Rockford is running low with 33 out for boys and girls in grades 7-12.
The varsity girls team has seven runners. It did not help when junior Emma Hawley was in a car accident and will not run this season. The top runner on the boys side, senior Nick Klonne, is taking college classes at Gustavus in St. Peter this fall and will miss some meets.
Klonne will run in the team’s first meet Friday, Aug. 29 at the Maple Lake Invitational. The meet starts at 9 a.m. Klonne hopes to run at the section meet which will be in St. Peter.
The second meet for the Rocket runners is at the only home event, 4:15 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4 at Shamrock golf course in Corcoran. The 10-team invitational is called the Rocket run.
The girls team has just one senior in Eliza Shedlov, who was slowed by injury at the end of last season.
Coach Jason Hester says another top runner should be junior Anya Cady, who ran track and was a pinch runner for the softball team that qualified for state. Hester likes the progress made by sophomore Liz Nelson, plus eighth-graders Erin Hopkins and Grace Clark.
Rockford’s boys team is senior dominated, many who ran together since the seventh grade. Captains are senior Klonne and Nico VanDanacker.
Runners returning to varsity include seniors Drew Hafften and Brannon Winters. New to the team and sport is senior Austin Hubbs, who switched from playing soccer. Other seniors adding depth are Nathan Schumacher and Josh Shaikowski.
The varsity has no juniors. Sophomore Joe Pothast returns and is looking good, says Hester, as is ninth-grader Caleb Duerr.
Klonne finished seventh in the 1,600-meter run in track the past two seasons. He conditioned for cross country this summer by participating in the Junior Olympic 10-event decathlon, some speed triathlons and some half ironman competitions.
“In the conference, Holdingford will be really tough,” adds the coach about the boys. “For us to make the top three is an achievable goal.”
In the case for both teams there are more runners with varsity experience. Hester says he knows his runners will not finish in the top half at meets, but asks they try to beat the time they had last year on each course.
Rockford will enter the Norwood-Young America Invitational Sept. 9 and the Delano Invite Sept. 11 at Lake Rebecca State Park.