GLENWOOD CITY — Delivering an encore as good and as successful as the original performance is never an easy undertaking.
A year ago, the Glenwood City girls cross country team captured the Dunn-St. Croix conference championship and the program’s first-ever WIAA sectional title and state meet berth in the process.
“Our girls are looking to repeat as conference and sectional champs,” said Glenwood City head coach Matthew Schutz, who is entering his sixth year at the helm and ninth overall with the GC cross country programs.
Both are realistic and attainable goals for this year’s Lady Topper team which returns all but one of its varsity members from 2014. The lone loss was that of Kaitlin Konder, who graduated this past spring, and competed much of last season as the team’s fourth runner.
“Kaitlin had a great senior year and we will need to fill that void in order to repeat,” noted Schutz of Konder.
On paper, the Hilltopper girls return three all-conference runners – Taylor Drinkman, Morgan Kadinger and Makayla O’Brien – along with varsity letterwinners senior Macie Rasmussen and sophomores Elizabeth Wink and Emma Scholler. In addition, senior Maya Petersen returns after missing the entire 2014 season with a torn ACL.
Unfortunately, first-team, all-conference selection Taylor Drinkman, who won the Dunn-St. Croix’ girls’ individual championship and was sectional runner-up a year ago, suffered a similar ACL tear during last winter’s basketball season and may be out of action until next month’s conference meet in Durand.
That leaves senior Morgan Kadinger, the Toppers’ other first-team all-conference runner, along with Makayla O’Brien, a second-team all-DSC performer, to lead the girls squad in 2015 including varsity newcomers juniors Kaylie Scalze and Tia Carlson and freshman Alexys Curvello.
“Every runner on the girls’ team will need to step up to fill the void left by Taylor Drinkman’s absence.”
But Schutz points to experience, discipline, leadership, effort and attitude displayed by both the girls and boys teams as areas of strength this season.
Glenwood City’s boys team, which finished sixth in conference and tenth at sectionals last season, returns its entire varsity squad.
Headlining the team this year is Jack Kremer and Riley Schutz (Coach Matthew’s son) along with Matthew Wink, brothers Andrew and Matthew Bauman, Corey Klatt and Owen Wagner. They are joined by promising sophomore Jacob Nadeau.
“The boys were mostly in the middle of the pack last year,” said Coach Schutz. “They will need to step up and learn to work together and push one another to work towards the front of the pack. They will need to work on the mental aspect sport.
If the boys can do that, then Schutz hopes that both the boys and girls teams can compete among the top teams in the area.
As for this year’s conference contenders, Schutz believes that Colfax and Boyceville will push for the boys title vacated by the departure of reigning champs St. Croix Central. On the girls side, he thinks that both Colfax and Elk Mound will push his girls’ team for the title in 2015.
In the sectional, Schutz sees Eau Claire Immanuel and Chippewa Falls McDonell as the boys’ front runners while Fall Creek and Eau Claire Regis top the list on the girls’ side.
Schutz will be assisted again this year by David Steffen. Will Rosenow will serve as the teams’ manager.
Seniors: Matthew Wink, Morgan Kadinger, Macie Rasmussen, Jack Kremer, Andrew Bauman, Nathan Hill, Maya Petersen
Juniors: Will Rosenow (manager), Kaylie Scalze, Taylor Drinkman, Tia Carlson, Corey Klatt
Sophomores: Elizabeth Wink, MaKayla O’Brien, Emma Scholler, Riley Schutz, Owen Wagner, Matthew Bauman, Jacob Nadeau
Freshmen: Alexys Curvello, Hannah Strehlo
Middle School: Lane O’Meara, Jabin Hojem, Isabella Williams, Emily Bethell, Aaron Holmquist, Elijah Simmons, Nyah Anderson, Bella Rassbach, Tabby Nadeau, Matthew O’Brien, Annika Bauman, Alex Swanepoel , Henry Wallin, Myah Eliason, Gabrielle Moede, Kendall Schutz, Bella Simmons, Samantha Peterson, Payton Knops, Ella Knops, Drew Olson, Brendan Booth, Owen Nerby, Thomas Moede, Henry Draxler,
Coaches: Matthew Schutz, Dave Steffen