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Cross country: Tiger boys bank on experience, girls on youth

Front row, from left: Rebecca Weber, Alexandra Hoopman, Sidney Lodge, Laura Oates and Ally Anderson. Middle row: Cody Deblezek, Austin Beavers, Louis Bueckers, Tyler Peterson, Eli O'Dell, Andrew Hoplin and Kade Schneider. Back row: Coach John Riewer, Josh Sichser, Jason Cadwell, Beau B., Nick Ackerman, Torry Hirschey, Caleb Travis and Luke Sichser. Not pictured: Luke Downie, Mara Adams, Shayna Moore and Coach Gregg Ehlert. Photo by Dan Determan

The 2016 season for the Pine River-Backus cross country teams will be a showcase of two extremes.

The PR-B boys team, under the leadership of 17-year head coach Gregg Ehlert, has seven letterwinners returning for the coming season after finishing 13th in the 2015 Section 8A meet.

The returning letterwinners for the boys team are Luke Downie, Torry Hirschey, Nick Ackerman, Josh Sechser, Luke Sechser, Caleb Travis and Marcus Lukanen.

Downie finished 27th in the 2015 section meet.

"We will be lead this year by Luke Downie, who has the potential to run at state this year if he can stay healthy," Ehlert said. "I am really excited about this year's team. We have some great veteran leadership mixed with some young talented runners. I can't wait for the first meet"

On the other hand, the Tiger girls team - led by six-year head coach John Riewer - is young and understaffed with just six athletes but will lean on returning letterwinners Sidney Lodge and Shayna Moore.

Also running for the Tiger girls are Alexander Hoopman, Isabella Netland, Laura Oates and Mara Adams. Oates, a junior, is the oldest runner on the team.

"We will be young and inexperienced," Riewer said. "However Sidney Lodge and Shayna Moore will lead the way, and with Alexander Hoopman coming back out after a year off will improve the squad."

The girls finished 16th in the section meet in 2015, with Lodge pacing the team with a 61st-place finish.

The team hopes to see a few more runners join the ranks as the school year begins, but expects to be competitive regardless. Managers for the team are Rebecca Weber and Ally Anderson.

"We look forward to making progress throughout the season as a team and individually," Riewer said. "It is a great bunch of kids to work with."

Cross Country


29 - at Menahga Invitational, 10 a.m.


8 - at Pequot Lakes Invitational, 4 p.m.


20 - at Bagley Invitational, 4:30 p.m.

22 - at Pillager Invitational (Madden's), 4 p.m.

27 - at Deer River, 4 p.m.


6 - at Crosby-Ironton Invitational (Ruttger's), 3:20 p.m.

10 - at OTC Invitational (Henning), 4 p.m.

18 - at Birch Tree Conference (Menahga), 4 p.m.

28 - at Section 8A meet (Bagley), 4 p.m.

Dan Determan

Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper.

(218) 855-5879