CG-Belgium girls have talent, depth in preparing for another run at top honors
The Cedar Grove-Belgium girls’ cross-country team sports a whopping 15-runner roster this season, including four letterwinners to lead the way and eight freshmen and sophomores to bolster the lineup.
It all means the Rockets have a great chance to improve on a third-place finish at the 2012 WIAA Division 3 state meet, when they ran the fastest collective, five-person race in team history.
Upholding an impressive tradition, the Cedar Grove-Belgium girls have finished in the top six at state five times since 2007.
Back this year are junior Lily Paul and senior Molly Ison, who led the squad last year.
“These two should have excellent years and be top finishers in all our races,” coach Les Paul said.
Seniors Jericho Duenk and Kiran Sehgal “bring lots of experience and I’m looking for big season improvements to match their talents,” the coach said.
“Our returning runners bring excellent work efforts. We can see their fitness has improved, and they should bring a ton of support for the balance of the scoring top seven,” he said.
Paul said he’s anxious to see how his young runners perform.
“Our incoming freshmen are very talented. I am very excited to see which or how many of them challenge for the varsity top seven spots,” he said.
The Rockets’ freshmen include Elysia Hoopman, Sydni Loose, Emily Sass and Maggie Turchinski. The sophomores are Kaili Depies, Melissa Krauska, Samantha Ritter and Sami Weiland.
Besides Lily Paul, the juniors include Kelly Brochtrup, Sarah Kiskunas and Megan Opgenorth.
The Cedar Grove-Belgium boys’ team has a full roster of seven runners, but five are freshmen.
Coach Paul said he was initially concerned with only having two returning runners but noted that the Rockets “have shown some good talent.”
Sophomore Peter Merritt and junior Derek Arndt lead the team.
“Peter was injured a lot but appears healthy and looks to improve upon his All-Central Lakeshore Conference finish last year,” coach Paul said.
“Derek returns with good experience and a plan to improve over last fall.”
New to the program are freshmen Ian Ison, Collin Kettenhoven, James Krauska and Abel Brockman. Sophomore Rollin McConnohie rounds out the young team.
“There are expectations that the boys can be competitive for a strong top conference finish and plans for a couple of them to work hard for a tournament run,” coach Paul said.
Solid start to the season
Three freshman helped the Cedar Grove-Belgium girls pull out a close win in their annual preseason meet on the Paul course Aug. 29.
Loose finished the 4,000-meter course with an eighth-place time of 18 minutes, 48 seconds, followed by Hoopman in ninth (18:59) and Turchinski in 12th (19:14).
The Rockets’ top two finishers were Paul in second (16:16) and Ison in fifth (17:17).
Cedar Grove-Belgium scored 36 points, three fewer than runner-up Brillion. Random Lake (71) and Oostburg (84) rounded out the field.
“We have a lot of depth on the girls’ side, and it was a nice surprise to see our freshmen step up for their first race,” coach Paul said.
In the boys’ meet, Cedar Grove-Belgium was third with 58 points. Oostburg won with 28 points, and Brillion was second with 41.
Ison led the Rockets with a fourth-place time of 18:51 in the 5,000-meter race, and Merritt was fifth (18:52).
Arndt finished 15th (21:02), followed by Brockman in 16th (22:07) and Kettenhoven in 18th (22:48).
“They have worked hard in practice and did better than they were expecting to,” coach Paul said of the boys. “Now they have something to set new goals around.”
This Friday, the Rockets will participate in the Homestead Highlander Invitational at Tendick Park in the Town of Saukville at 4 p.m.
On Sept. 12, Cedar Grove-Belgium will host the annual Rocket Invitational at 4 p.m.
Image Information: MEMBERS OF THE Cedar Grove-Belgium girls’ cross-country team got off to a fast start in the annual pre-season meet on their home course Aug. 29. Photo by Sam Arendt