Juniors Will Gerber and Chase Doornink took first and second at the Unity Cross Country Invitational in Balsam Lake. The boys team took first place with seven runners at the invite.
“(They) remain focused leading into tournament time and each workout they train with intent. Both lead the team and challenge each athlete to improve during practice and meets,” said Natalie Doornink, Grantsburg cross country coach.
Gerber (16:50) has been on the podium before this year and in Balsam Lake was joined by Doornink (17:10).
A trio of Juniors finished inside the top 15 at the race, Brody Bongaarts (18:20), Mason Arnold (20:08) and Jordan Janes (20:10) had solid performances at Balsam Lake.
Freshman Connor Quimby (20:16) and Joe Quintana (23:19) were also integral for the team score.
Doornink said of the girls team, “they are working hard and are a dedicated group of girls.”
The girls team also ran at Balsam Lake, but only had four runners so could not place in the team score. The team had three girls who were injured and unable to compete.
“We will continue to prepare and focus not on winning, but on earning PRs and running a relaxed race with the goal of each athlete reaching their full potential,” Doornink said.
Junior Hailea Rombach (24:38) led the team coming in 13th place. Three Sophomores, Tristin Kreuser-Peterson (25:36), Cassidy Troff (26:38) and Alex Kammeyer (30:08) also turned in solid performances.
The team competed at Flambeau on Tuesday and next week the head to Frederic/Luck. The season has had a few bumps with multiple cancelled meets, but they’ve kept at it.
“I commend the girls and boys teams for their attitude,” Doornink concluded. “Some have the goal of running for a college and others purely the satisfaction of improving and achieving more than they thought possible. In a sport that does not receive the acclaim, these athletes push through physical pain on the course each and every meet. That is the definition of a cross country athlete in my book.”