The dress rehearsals are completed. The Osceola Chieftain cross country team has competed in big meets all season in preparation for the most important meets of the season. Next up for Osceola is the Middle Border conference meet in Somerset on Oct. 17 and then Sectionals and hopefully State.
Osceola’s final tune-up came in Eau Claire at the Old Abe Invitational in weather that was challenging to say the least. The Chieftains were one of 18 schools at the meet that was made up of mostly D-1 teams. The Osceola boys and girls both placed first among the small schools at the meet. The girls team finished fourth among all schools and the boys were eighth. The Chieftains have some of their key runners still nursing injuries so the performances they had were encouraging.
“The weather this season has played a major role in our training and racing but the team handled the snow, wind, and cold like champs,” Osceola coach Rachael Robinson said. “Both the varsity and junior varsity teams won the small school team championship. Many athletes had breakthrough races and ran personal bests. The team also did an excellent job executing important race strategies that will be needed as we head into the tournament series.”
Freshman Rachel Ulrich continues to be extremely impressive for the Osceola harriers. Ulrich placed third overall among 126 varsity runners with a time of 19 minutes, 19 seconds over the 5,000 meter course. Only Hudson senior Rachel Ball and sophomore Jillian Heth of Eau Claire Memorial were able to beat Ulrich to the finish line. The next four Chieftain runners were within 28 seconds of each other. Junior Alli Fogelberg finished 21st followed by sophomore Chloe Backlund (24th), Caroline Gearin (30th) and Lauren Ellefson (31st).
The boys were led by Quinn McDonald who finished in 17:24.5 placing 21st overall. McDonald was followed by Zach Solsrud (26th), Sean Rogers (27th), Jacob Hall (58th) and David Olson (60th).
Osceola now will turn their full attention to the MBC meet in Somerset. This is an all or nothing meet where the best team that day brings home the Middle Border conference championship crown. If you are not ready on that day your hopes for a title can be dashed in a hurry.
“We’ve been training hard and had our eye on conference all year,” Gearin said. “Osceola is ready and excited for the conference meet. I’m proud of be a part of such a supportive team. We work hard together and fight through every course and we’re going to bring that team spirit to Somerset.”
Solsrud knows what it will take to challenge for the top spot in the MBC. “If we as a team want to claim the title we have to leave everything thing we have out on the course,” he said.
After the conference meet Osceola will compete at the Sectional meet in St. Croix Central on Oct. 26.