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Hastings begins cross country season at extreme meet in River Falls

There's nothing like a 3-mile race through streams and mud to kick off the season. For the Hastings Raiders cross country teams, that's exactly what they faced last week in River Falls at the annual extreme meet held there.

The long course and wild conditions showed Hastings coach John Dewall one very important thing: just how fit his athletes are, or aren't.

"You can't fake being out-of-shape in a race like that," Dewall said. "It is the toughest race of the year. There is no doubt. You're running through water. You have wet shoes. It's a race the kids will always remember, and it's a good indication of where we are at and who is in shape."

Hastings freshman Colby Smith placed 41st overall with a time of 21 minutes and 41 seconds to lead the Raiders. The team's second-best time came from a junior varsity runner, Joe Rabaey, a sophomore, who was sixth in the junior varsity race at 22:22.

"It's great to see those young kids coming up and performing like that," Dewall said. "They are definitely going to be some factors to be reckoned with. Coming in, it was their first varsity race, three miles, and they were in great shape. They're going to be factors on the team this year and in the future, no doubt."

The Hastings boys placed 11th out of 15 teams.

Also running varsity were: Riley Tarrant, who placed 51st in 22:25; Christian Weiland, 67th, 22:57; Chase Keilers, 90th, 24:07; D.J. Yandrasits, 99th, 24:58; Kyle Stapleton, 101st, 25:09; and Mike Stricker, 112th, 25:57.

Red Wing won the meet with 49 points and River Falls was second with 69.

Hastings finished with 348 points.

On junior varsity were Rabaey, sixth, 22:22; Mohamed Osman, 26th, 23:40; Ben Jackson, 37th, 24:43; Tim Zappa, 39th, 24:45; Isaiah Gardell, 24:49; Jacob Rachuy, 44th, 24:49; Brian Willson, 59th, 25:35; Wes Hedlund, 93rd, 27:16; Jason Schultz, 104th, 27:45.


The girls were 11th out of 13 teams.

A familiar face led the way for the Raiders.

Bri Strandberg led the Raiders with a 29th place finish in 25 minutes and 25 seconds.

Strandberg is a sophomore.

A pair of seventh-graders, Helen Jensen and Allissa Smith, cracked the varsity lineup and had good races, Dewall said.

Jensen finished 59th with a time of 27:07 and Smith was 75th in 28:55.

Juliann Moes ran her first varsity race and came in 70th at 27:30.

"That's great for a new kid, coming out like that," Dewall said. Moes is a junior.

Seniors Mackenzie Klimek and Kailianna Klimek each ran in their first varsity races, too. Klimek came in 79th in 29:11 and Klimek was 88th in 30:11.

"It takes a lot of guts for those kids to come out as seniors and race," Dewall said. "We're excited to have both of them racing with us."

Makaila England, a freshman, finished 80th in 29:15.

The River Falls girls team won the meet with a score of 16 points. Wausau West was second with 72.

Hastings finished 11th with 312 points.