Bonduel, Shawano in top 5 at invite

Freshmen do well at Bonduel
By: 

Greg Bates, Leader Correspondent

Now that Kara Troxel has a few varsity races under her belt, the Bonduel freshman is ready to show what she’s capable of.

Troxel placed third overall Tuesday at the Bonduel Invitational, helping the Bears come in third as a team.

“What’s nice about this race is we’ve got some D-1 and D-2 schools to compete against,” Bonduel coach Diane Schnell said. “Right now, we’re sitting really in a good spot in Division 3, and we’ve got a really strong and deep team on both the girls and boys.”

Troxel finished with a time of 20 minutes, 36.44 seconds, just five seconds off her personal record.

“I feel good and I’m just glad that I didn’t pass out or anything, because it’s really hot out today,” Troxel said.

“She’s a terrific runner,” Schnell said. “She’s been working hard for the last multiple years getting ready for high school races.”

Ashlyn Schnell placed 10th overall (21:58.70) and second for Bonduel. Madison Kurey was 25th (23:04.01).

Bonduel tallied 109 team points, finishing behind Freedom (50) and Little Chute (63). Shawano was fourth (122) out of the 10 schools.

Freshman Lydia Beyer paced Shawano with a sixth-place finish in 21:26.07.

Beyer was in fourth place for a substantial chunk of the race, but she got a little tired late.

“It’s a lot different than middle school and what I’m used to,” Beyer said. “It’s a longer race, first off. And it’s better competition, so you have to give it your all.”

Claire Guenther, another freshman, came in 14th overall (22:08.55) for the Hawks. Junior Alice Hoffman placed 23rd (22:40.69).

“I think our girls are starting to come around and starting to place a little bit higher,” Shawano coach Steve Stomberg said. “They’re coming around and they’ve just got to believe in themselves. They’ve just got to get the confidence in what they’re capable of doing and just keep striving for it.”

Boys

Coming off a state appearance last year, Bonduel’s Jared Wondra is running his best early this season.

The junior finished fifth (17:37.05) in a strong field. The Bears were fourth as a team (113), trailing Freedom (35), Oconto Falls (56) and Shawano (110).

Wondra loved how his race panned out.

“I wanted to do a slower start, but I got off to a lot faster start than I meant to,” he said. “Today, it just all clicked.”

Bonduel’s second runner on the day was Colin Ewing, who came in 14th (18:30.84). Craig Rusch, a senior, took 29th (19:25.78).

“The boys are coming on, too,” Schnell said. “The boys are also sitting in first place in our division, so we’re just trying to maintain it and keep everybody healthy.”

Shawano placed four guys in the top 25.

Ethan Chelberg was the Hawks’ top finisher in 16th (18:32.15). Chase Lhotka was 22nd (18:44:25).

“Between Chase and Ethan, they’ve been going back and forth with who’s going to lead the race,” Stomberg said. “Ethan’s a freshman, and he was a fantastic runner last year in middle school.”

Shawano’s next two runners were Karsten Anderson (24th, 18:54.16) and freshman Joe Mente (25th, 19:01.58).

Stomberg was thrilled with Mente’s race.

“He did outstanding,” Stomberg said. “I went up to him and said, ‘Do you realize what you did today?’ And he just kind of smiled. I said, ‘Now you know.’ I just kind of tapped on his eyebrows and said, ‘It’s right in here.’”

Now that Stomberg has his top four runners in the top 25, he wants a couple of them to push into the top 10 to increase the team place.

“They just need to analyze where all the runners are at and just stay with them, and that’s the focus,” Stomberg said. “We need to work on the pack running. We’ve got to get our runners to pack up together and challenge to get up there toward the top.”