Panthers look to compete well in state meet

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


MARIA RYAN (115) and Plymouth teammate Amanda Triebensee compete in Saturday’s sectional cross country meet at Green Lake. PHS placed second to advance to the state meet. – Photo by Jason Hassel MARIA RYAN (115) and Plymouth teammate Amanda Triebensee compete in Saturday’s sectional cross country meet at Green Lake. PHS placed second to advance to the state meet. – Photo by Jason Hassel PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Panthers are well-prepared for Saturday’s Division 2 state cross country competition.

PHS will be represented by its girls team and senior Alan Schaefer in the boys event. The Panther girls have three competitors who ran on last year’s D-3 state team – juniors Lauren Rabe, Allie Gruttner and Amanda Triebensee. The other members of this year’s girls team are seniors Kalei Hering and Maria Ryan, and juniors Ellie Welsch and Luci Hoitink.

The state meet will be held at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. The Howards Grove Tigers’ senior Katie Guse will run in the D-3 girls race. Guse ran at state the last two years when her teams qualified.

The D-2 boys race will start at 12:35 p.m. and the D-2 girls will get under way at 2:25 p.m. The D-3 girls race will begin at 1:45 p.m.

“Our ideal hope is to have the girls team and Alan run their best races of the year at the state meet,” said Panther head coach Jay Grosshuesch.

“We have talked this week about not just being satisfied with qualifying for the state meet but actually competing at a high level against some great competition. The key for our kids is to try to be relaxed and approach this meet like any other we have been in all season.

“The good news for us is we have been in some very competitive meets all year against some of the best Division 1 teams in the state, so we have plenty of experience running against top-flight competition which should help us,” said Grosshuesch.

“Three of our girls raced at state last year and that will help them knowing the course and the crowded field. We are not at all worried about the fact that Ellie, Kalei, Maria, Luci and Alan will be running at state for the first time. These five kids have been mentally tough runners all season and should handle the state experience just fine.

“Our goal for the girls team would be to finish in the top half of the field of 16 teams. If we run very well I think we can be in the top six but we really will need quality races out of all seven girls. Luxemburg Casco and Wisconsin Lutheran look to be the teams to beat,” said the veteran coach.

“Alan will be running in a field of 150. With a great race by him he could finish in the top 30. He has had a great last couple of weeks of practice, so I would not be surprised by anything he does at state,” said Grosshuesch.

“The expectation is that Katie will run the best race of her life on Saturday,” said Tiger head coach Gary Kalk.

“Katie’s familiar with the surroundings at state, the large crowd, the anxiety, etc. This will help her to feel somewhat more relaxed.

“Have confidence, get out fast, maintain a good pace and finish with nothing left,” Kalk said in regard to the keys for Guse to perform well.

“It will be a tough field. However, Katie earned this opportunity and belongs with the best runners our state has to offer,” said Kalk.


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