Boys blending vets and newcomers
Experience and newcomers could be the blend as to how the Blue Earth Area boys cross country team performs this season.
The Bucs will have some veterans returning; however, they’ll have to rely on some runners with limited varsity experience if they are to be successful.
Last year, BEA finished fourth in the South Central Conference Meet and fifth at the Section 2A Meet.
This year’s team is senior-laden, six of the nine returning letterwinners have 21 varsity letters to their name and will be ending their careers.
Head coach Tom Plocker says he and assistant coach Chris Detert have a “strong senior nucleus” to work with.
“The boys have been working hard and we expect good things from them,” Plocker says.
Seniors Brandon Christians, Riley Holmseth, Aaron Wilhelmi and Wade Wilhelmi are all four-year letterwinners.
Alvin Goraczkowski is entering his senior year with three varsity letters and fellow senior Hans Kittleson is a two-year letterwinner.
Other runners who have lettered include junior Jake Zebedee with two; freshman Korey Frandle with one; and eighth-grader Mike Ankeny, also with one.
By the end of the season last year, Holmseth was BEA’s top runner.
He finished 12th in the South Central Conference Meet with a time of 17:46.
At the Section 2A Meet, Holmseth was the first Buc to cross the finish line with a 17th-place time of 18:10.
Aaron Wilhelmi placed 19th overall at the SCC Meet with his time of 18:42, while Zebedee was 21st in 18:52 and Christians was right behind in the 22nd spot with a time of 19:01.
In the Section Meet, Christians duplicated his conference placing, taking 22nd in 18:22, while Aaron Wilhelmi covered the 5,000-meter course in 18:46 for the 33rd overall best time.
Eighth-grader Mike Ankeny competed in his first Section Meet as a seventh-grader and was able to grab the 54th spot in 19:32.
Ankeny may have shown earlier in the season he would eventually earn a spot on the varsity.
At the Milaca Mega Meet, Ankeny competed in the 3,200-meter run in the seventh-grader competition. He finished eighth place overall with a time of 12:29.
In the South Central Conference the Bucs will have to contend with at least three teams — Waseca, Fairmont and St. James.
The same three teams will be in the Section Meet, scheduled to be held this year at Riverside Town & Country Club in Blue Earth.
Plocker says you can add Martin County West as another tough team in the Section.
“Fairmont may be the favorite, but Waseca will be pretty tough. And, Martin County West has some good runners,” says Plocker. “At the end of the day, I think we will be right in the thick of things.”
Like the girls, the boys get an early look at Fairmont this Friday at Cedar Creek Park in Fairmont.
On Wednesday, Sept. 1, the team goes on the road to Mountain Lake to take part in the Wolverine Invite at the Mountain Lake Golf Course.