COLFAX — If Colfax cross country coach Joe Doucette hopes to get both of his teams back to the state meet this year, he will have to find replacements for his high quality athletes from last season. The boys’ team won their third straight conference championship, won the sectional title and finished sixth at the state level, while the girls’ were the runners up at conference after winning five straight, finished second at sectionals and seventh at state.
Gone through graduation are All Conference runners Lachlan Hinwood, Michael Larson, Jeremiah Harder, Garrett Miller and Matthew Almquist along with Zach Christianson. The girls lost All Conference runners Brittany Rothbauer and Kenna Breckner.
With no seniors on the boys’ team, sophomores Hunter Lieffort, Tucker Hovde and Zac Arvold, all runners with varsity experience will have to step up this year.Lieffort earned All Conference honors as a freshman and Hovde was making big strides until an injury sidelined him part way through the season, allowing Arvold to move into a varsity spot. Expecting to compete for varsity positions are juniors Nate Leibfried, Brad Foyt and David Blanchard, sophomores Grady Gibson, Brett Prince, Daniel Schneider and Isaac Lee and freshmen Jacob Larson, Rowdy Kadinger and Jelani Smit. Prince is competing in both cross country and football this year. “Our strengths will be our strong work ethic but we are a young team,” Doucette said. “Having to replace our guys from last year is certainly a tough job.”
St. Croix Central, Elk Mound and Boyceville look to be contenders in the conference this year since they all have experienced runners returning, according to Doucette.
The girls’ team won’t have to rebuild quite as much since five of the runners who competed at state are all back. Seniors Heidi Lieffort and Mallie Doucette return along with sophomores Dempsey Fogarty, Courtney Dressel and Dannielle Dachel.Lieffort, Fogarty and Dressel were All Conference runners last year while Doucette has three years experience at the varsity level and Dachel joined the team later in the year after playing volleyball. Dachel will compete in both sports this year while senior McKenzie Anderson returns after being plagued by injuries last season. Incoming freshmen include Abbagail Schotter, Ally Heidorn and Cienna Cooper.
“We have a chance to be very good this year if we work hard and stay healthy,” coach Doucette said. “We should be deeper with some new kids.We want to be team orientated and be at our best late in the year.”
Doucette believes Spring Valley, even after losing Breanna Colbenson, the individual conference champion, will be the favorites this year and hopes his team can give them a good battle along with Mondovi and Glenwood City.
Colfax begins competition Aug. 29 at Boyceville, weather permitting with temperatures expected to be in the 90s all week. Helping Doucette with the team this year is long time assistant Chuck Brown.