Hill-Murray girls hope to outdistance the cross-country competition

Kelley Wakem has taken over the reins of the Hill-Murray Pioneers girls cross-country fortunes this fall.

Her task of orienting the athletes who are out for the team, has been made easier by the return of several veterans to the squad.

“We have many returning runners,” Wakem said. “There are several girls back who are committed to the program. These kids have tasted success and they build on each other’s success.”

Additionally, the Pioneers have several newcomers to the program who will be looking to attain experience on the varsity level.

“We have many newcomers to the sport of cross country, but they are not new to running,” Wakem continued. “That should help speed their development.”

A couple of the veterans who will return and lead the Hill-Murray forces as captains are senior Lauren Weingartner and junior Laura Otremba.

Among the early standouts for the Pioneers are a pair of juniors in the persons of Elizabeth Yares and Tiffany Willits.

Bolstering the chances will be ninth grader Janey Atchison, who will be backed by a pair of eighth graders, Karen Bohnen and Erica Olson.

The “new” head coach of the Pioneers will be backed up by assistant Tim Ryan.

The Pioneers tasted their first competition Aug. 27 when they participated in the DeLaSalle Invitational.

Next they will travel to Apple Valley where they will run in the Dakota County Invitational. They will get their first taste of Classic Suburban Conference (CSC) opponents when they go up against Richfield, South St. Paul and Simley at 4:40 p.m. on Sept. 13 at the St. Croix Bluffs trail.

The remaining Hill-Murray schedule:

Sept. 1, 4 p.m., Dakota County Invitational, Johnny Cake Park, Apple Valley; Sept. 10, 10 a.m., Red Knight Invitational, Basset’s Creek, Plymouth; Sept. 24, 10 a.m., Milaca Mega, Government Center; Sept. 27, 4:40 p.m., Mahtomedi, North, South St. Paul, St. Croix Bluffs: Oct. 6, 3:45 p.m., Blaine Invitational, Majestic Oaks Government Center; Oct. 11, 4 p.m., Simley Quadrangle Meet, Simley; Oct. 18, 4:30 p.m., CSC Championships, St. Croix Bluffs.

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