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Northwest Salmon



Bearcats snatch first NEC title since 1973

by Emre K. Erku

Nineteen seventy three.

That was the last time Webster Area Bearcats’ mens cross country runners won the NEC title. Forty two years later, the honor is now back in Bearcat land.

Although conditions were cold upon Webster’s public golf course Oct. 8, the Bearcats were red hot, with three runners battling their ways to top 10 finishes. However, their efforts would’ve proved unsuccessful hadn’t their team pulled through in a clutch.

“It was a great day for the Bearcats!” exclaimed head coach Lori Wagner. “I had spoken to Max Kuecker this week and told him that he would need to run one of his best races and that they all needed to work hard this week in practice. Max came through and with his full effort, we won the honor by three points.”

In a pool of five competeing schools, the Webster boys gained first with a total time of 1:13:29.33, besting the second place Redfield/Doland Pheasants by 44 seconds. This turned an 18:22.34 average for the Bearcats, which alloted 21 points to take top honors. The Pheasants produced a total time of 1:14.13.85, averaging 18:33.47. Their silver finish was by way of 24 points.

By the skin of their teeth, the Bearcat girls found themselves second place finishers in a pool of seven schools. This time it was the Pheasants turn for triumph as they took gold with a total time of 1:25:30.26. This averaged to 21:22.57 and yielded 39 points. Webster cranked out 45 points with a total time of 1:26:21.57, turning an average of 21:35.40.

“On the girls side we saw a little disappointment with our third runner out with an injury, but I can’t speak enough about the performance of the top three runners,” said Wagner. “Mariah and McKenzie (Volesky) both ran the races they were needing to run and our seventh grader, Rana Hegg, came through with her best run ever! This put us in second place, which we are proud of. Our conference is a tough one and yesterday it could have gone any of three ways in both races.”

In a pool of 43 runners, taking first place for the Bearcat boys was Jordan Bauer. He hustled his way to a time of 17:49.51. Taking third was Ty Dunse with a time of 17:58.72. Jayden Hortness placed sixth with 18:40.32, Max Kuecker 13th with 19:00.78, Tim Nedergard 24th with 20:41.98, Jacob Hernandez 28th with 20:59.20, Tristan Anderson 32nd with 21:38.80 and Alex Leschisin 39th with 23:33.69.

“The boys met their first goal of winning the NEC title,” said Wagner. “It is the first since 1973 and I couldn’t be prouder of the performance that these boys gave.

For the girls it was Mariah Volesky sprinting for second with a time of 20:19.00. Sister McKenzie took third with 20:29.36, Rana Hegg 14th with 22:02.50, Kendra Johnson 28th with 23:30.71, Kayla Schimmel 32nd with 23:59.93 and Hannah Block 38th with 25:19.14.­­
For the girls JV, Emily Kaufman took second with 15:30.24, Gabby Premus eighth with 16:49.94, Kayla Fischer 10th with 17:15.57 and Olivia Dorsett 12th with 17:44.34.
Gavin Anderson placed 14th with 14:35.99 for the JV boys division.

“I was very happy with the performance of my runners and this sets us up for a week of solid practice and getting ready for the region run next week,” Wagner ended.

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