The North Branch boys cross country team placed ninth out of 11 teams, while the girls team took sixth out of 10 teams at the Milaca Early Bird Invitational Aug. 27.
Kyle Crowell was the first Viking boy to finish, coming in 43rd out of 78 runners. Sam Peltier came in 48th, Alex Fitcha 50th, Noah Hubbard 51st, Cole Willis 59th, Ean Charpentier 61st and Zachary Peno 68th.
The first Viking girl to cross the finish line was Rhianna Rinke placing fifth (15:38.9) out of 78 competitors. Casey Hovland came in seventh (16:20.9), Alyssa Ramberg 37th, Claire Schraufnagel 53rd, Laura Dolezalek 64th and Kelsey Coleman 75th.
“It was a scorcher for the team’s first official race of the 2012 season,” said Coach Anna Geary. “Coming off a busy week filled with two-a-days (practice) and a camping trip and our annual Jamboree, the kids were tired, but many perservered. The heat did get the better of some, and it was a good reminder to the whole team how important hydration is throughout the season.
“Stand out performances from ribbon winners include: Jake Petrik, Kyle Granger, Noah Pick, Joseph Ehrich, Josh Petrik, Grace Puchtel and Madison Belland. Congrats to medal winners, Rhianna Rinke and Casey Hovland in the varsity girls’ race. It was exciting to see our new team members race the full course and see improvement in the veterans. The team is gearing up for their home meet which this year will feature a Fun 2k and 1k race for family and friends,” Geary noted.
The North Branch boys and girls cross country teams will compete in an invitational at 3:45 p.m. at Pine City Golf Course Thursday, Sept. 6.