COLFAX — With six of the ten boys on the cross country team seniors and two of the six girls also seniors, the Colfax cross country teams certainly have plenty of experience as they head into the 2015 season.
Under the direction of head coach Joe Doucette, who enters his 23rd season leading the Vikings, the boys hope to take back the Dunn-St. Croix Conference title they held for four consecutive years before relinquishing it to St. Croix Central a year ago. The boys also came up just short in qualifying for the state meet by placing third in the sectional meet. The girls have won six of the last eight conference meets but a lack of team depth resulted in them finishing in second place at the conference meet behind Glenwood City last year, and they were fifth at the sectional. They will have to replace Dannielle Dachel, a two time All Conference runner who also competed at state twice, while the boys lose Brett Johnson through graduation.
Senior runners for the boys include Zac Arvold, Tucker Hovde, Brady Simonson and Brett Prince who were all Second team All Conference as juniors, Hunter Leiffort, who was AC his freshman and sophomore years, and Isaac Lee who has competed all four years. Arvold and Leiffort have state tournament experience stemming from their freshmen year when the team advanced to the state level. Juniors Jacob Larson, Rowdy Kadinger and newcomer to distance running Jelanie Smit are also competing along with sophomore Jacob Jensen.
“We feel we will be right in the thick of things in the big meets late in the year,” Doucette said. “We need to get two or three of the boys under the low 17 minute mark this year and that is hard to do. But we started the season in pretty good shape so that will really help us.”
For the girls, senior Courtney Dressel is back after being named First Team AC for three seasons and competing at the state meet her freshman and sophomore years. Fellow senior Dempsey Fogarty, after taking a break her junior year, returns this year and was the conference champion and sectional champion as a sophomore. She also was a member of the team that competed at the state level in 2012 and 2013. Junior Abbagail Schotter was the lone runner representing Colfax at state last season, making it her second year to compete at the big show and she was First team AC both seasons. Another junior, Ally Heidorn returns with state tournament experience from her freshman year.
Freshmen Hailey Prince and Erica Kallstrom join the team after having successful middle school careers and should add some team depth. Sophomore Mackenzie Jensen was expected to help out but will miss the season due to a torn ACL.
“We have several girls with a lot of experience in big meets,” Doucette said. “Having the leadership of our two seniors may give us a chance to compete at a high level again. We are not terribly deep but if we can work hard and stay healthy we could be tough to beat. We can’t wait to see how good we can get,” he added.
Doucette will be assisted by Chuck Brown and Courtney Doucette this year and the Vikings started the season with a meet at Boyceville last Thursday.