ELK MOUND — With 15 boys and 15 girls running cross country this season, Elk Mound coach Jeremiah Fredrickson believes that depth, along with some experienced runners can help the Mounders compete for a Dunn-St. Croix Conference title in their sixth year as a program.
Three runners are gone from last year’s team, all from the boys’ side including state qualifier Caleb Kruger along with Lucas Winter and Tyler Svihovec. The team finished fourth in the D-SC meet and have several letter winners back including seniors Hayden Kohls and Nate Kruger and sophomore Ryan Mohr. These three should set the pace for the team but a core group of runners that continues to improve should push them, according to Fredrickson. Those include senior Grant Kjellberg and sophomores Jake Johnson, Jonas Kohls, Nate Lind and Jared Strand. First year runner, junior Jameson Rubenzer and freshman Dylan Hanson should also be in the hunt for a varsity spot.
Filling out the team are seniors Erik Strand and Lucas Kinblom, junior Matt McLaughlin, sophomore Bowdrie Noller and freshmen Nate Schreiber and William Stone.
The girls’ team also placed fourth at conference a year ago and have all of their runners back. Junior Elizabeth Fasbender is coming off a state tournament appearance (the first girl in Mounder history to compete at state), and a host of others with experience should help the team move up in the standings. Seniors Elayna Gutsch, Corrine Zimmer and Nevada LaPoint return with varsity experience along with sophomore Hannah Cedarblade. A strong group of freshmen who were quite successful at the middle school level are expected to push the upperclassmen this year as well.
Juniors Kaitlyn Baier and Meredith Hainstock will compete as well as sophomores Hannah Carlson, Claudia Paul, and Mattea Linberg. Freshmen runners are Hannah Hollister, Ciera Lind, Alana Plaszcz, Brook Plaszcz and Audrey Westcott.
“In our sixth year, we hope to keep building as a team and individually,” Fredrickson, who is the first and only coach for the Mounder team said. “We have a lot of depth for both teams which should make for some good competition within our own team not to mention in our always tough conference. It is our goal to compete for the conference title this year and we also want to improve in our sectional finish, teamwise and individually. I expect Colfax to be the team to beat for the boys at conference and Glenwood City and Colfax for the girls division. As a whole, our main goals are to improve as individuals which will make our team better, grow and develop healthy life skills along with a strong work ethic, and most importantly, have fun!”
Assisting Fredrickson with the team this year is Kristine Olson as the Mounders opened the season with a meet at Boyceville Aug. 27.