EM runners ready for action

Despite the high heat and humidity that hit the area this past week, members of the Elk Mound boys’ and girls’ cross country teams  hit the road and the Red Cedar Trail to prepare for the upcoming season. Coach Jeremiah Fredrickson, starting his fourth season leading the Mounders, will have to replace plenty of boys from last year’s conference runner up team, along with a few girls from the seventh place team.

Mitch Zimmer, Shawn Lane, Andrew Zabel, Chris Jaenke, Seth Kruger, Dan Bachman, Hunter Hermes, Hunter Henning and Alec Winter are all gone due to graduation, while Emma Hayes, Josie Hayes and Alex Hagberg have also moved on. Back to lead the boys is senior All Conference runner Ben Holzwarth, the first runner to advance to the state meet in the short history of Elk Mound cross country. He will be joined by seniors Justin Fedie, Josh Hall and Drew Sternecker along with juniors Lucas Winter, Jon Baggs and Caleb Kruger and sophomore Hayden Kohls.

The girls return seniors Jamie Solem, Danae Sternecker and Samantha Jain along with sophomore Waive Melgaard. Newcomers this year are sophomores Elayna Gutsch, Corrine Zimmer, Sarah Winchester and Nevada LaPoint and freshmen Elizabeth Fasbender, Kami King and Kassandra Jain.

“I think the conference will be more evenly matched this year,” Fredrickson said. “Many of the boys and girls teams that placed high last year lost a lot of runners so we hope we can be in the mix this year. We are looking at our seniors to lead the team and now that Ben knows what to expect at the higher level, it would be nice to get him back to state.”

The Mounders assistant coach is Sara Hoover. The team begins competition Aug. 29 at Boyceville.