Two state qualifiers are back for the Chippewa Falls girls: Ella Behling and Haley Mason. Mason recently placed third at the Rice Lake Invite. McDonell transfer Lydia Fish went to the Division 3 state championships and adds depth for the Cardinals girls. The boys have solid program numbers after taking seventh in the conference last year. ... The Eau Claire Memorial girls have been featured in the state rankings for much of the season after finishing as BRC runner-up last year. Jillian Heth was the individual conference champion and took 26th at state as a freshman last year. Ava Pankratz, Morgan Priem and Hailey Sorenson have contributed to the Old Abes' success this year, among others. The boys went to state as a team last year, but have needed to replace individual BRC champ Zak Sather, who graduated. Scout Stokes took third in the conference meet last year and is the only returner from the state-meet lineup. ... Eau Claire North has a mix of youth and experience. Freshman Titus Frock has been a contributor for the boys, as have sophomore Dylan Manteufel and senior Dylan Ashley. The boys are looking to improve on a sixth-place finish in the conference. The girls will try to take a step up from a seventh-place BRC finish. Senior Lauren Flynn has had a good season thus far, finishing sixth at the Mustang Relays and eighth at the Husky Invite. Sophomore Aubrie Ecker also has a pair of top-20 finishes this fall. ... The Hudson boys won the conference title last year and has a solid group again this season. The girls went to state and have most of their lineup back from the squad which took 17th in Wisconsin Rapids. ... Menomonie has a solid core back from last fall. The girls won the conference meet and have performers back in Maddy Palmer, Rachel Dietrich, Isabella Jacobsen and Paige Anderson, among others. The boys return all-conference selection Patrick Schwartz. He took fifth at the Mustang Relays this season. ... Rice Lake has state qualifiers back in Derek Penzkover, Anna Penzkover and Alexi MacDonald. Anna Penzkover had the highest finish at state, taking 22nd. Both the Warriors' boys and girls teams took fifth in the Big Rivers last year. ... River Falls' boys took third in the BRC a season ago, while the girls placed fifth. Both teams have a handful of experienced runners back.
Altoona's boys team has been solid, as shown by a third-place finish at its home invite last week. Evan Moss, Noah Olson and Riley Parks were the driving forces behind that result. The girls took fourth at that meet, led by Sadie Matthews' eighth-place finish. Morgan Parks finished just outside the top 10. ... Cadott took sixth at the boys conference meet last year. They've been led by freshman Peter Weir, who took third at the team's home invite on Tuesday and has been finishing in the top 10 often. Meadow Barone has been the top runner for the girls. ... Fall Creek's girls have had a solid season, highlighted by freshman Jenna Anders' win at the Altoona Invite. The Crickets also took fifth at the Columbus Catholic Invite against statewide competition. The boys took fifth in the conference last year and have a mix of youth and veterans this year. Senior Drake Schultz led the team at the Columbus Catholic Invite. ... The McDonell boys won the conference meet last season, but has needed to replace some of its top runners. However, that does not include reigning individual champion Joe Thaler. Dan Anderson has also taken a big step forward for the Macks this year. The Macks' girls were conference runner-up and went to state last year. Four runners from their state lineup are back: Ellie Eckes, Ann David, Elise Bormann and Anna Geissler. Both the boys and girls reached the state meet a year ago. ... Osseo-Fairchild's Kari Herman went to state last season, where she took 30th. She's among the top runners in the conference again this fall and will seek a fourth state appearance. Jared Penkert is among the top runners for the Thunder boys. ... Regis coach John Snyder is in his last year of coaching following a lengthy career. He has a state qualifier back in Andrew Schlitz, who placed 82nd in Division 3 last year. Jannah Mehtala took 21st in the conference meet for the Ramblers girls last year. She's joined by the likes of Eydie Myers and Jessica Sabbagh in the varsity lineup this year. The girls have a large sophomore contingent this fall. ... Stanley-Boyd is led by Travis Christoph on the boys side and Alba Rico Gil on the girls. Rico Gil has been a consistent top-10 finisher for the Orioles. ... Thorp has one of its top girls runners back in Molly Milliren. The Cardinals will need to replace Falon Immormino though. Freshman Sam Syryczuk has been solid for the boys.
Boyceville returns its top finisher at the conference meet for both boys and girls, Steven Rasmussen and Noelle Wheeldon. … Colfax’s top three girls runners at the state meet were all freshmen – Jasmine Best, Emilee Burcham-Scof and Jill Bowe. The boys, which took fourth, return two of their top three runners in Noah Heidorn and Sawyer Best. … Durand had four of the top six finishers on the boys side at the conference meet and only lost two, winner Isaac Wegner and fourth-place finisher Riley Radle. Returning from the bunch is sophomore Parker Schneider and senior Amanual Bauer. The girls were nearly as strong, earning three spots in the top seven. That included Madison Sand, who rolled to No. 1 by a 50-second advantage as a freshman. The other two, Olivia Breidung and Brinly Bauer, were also in their first years of high school. … Elk Mound’s boys squad returns its top five runners from last year’s conference meet, including second-place finisher Cade Hanson and third-place finisher Andrew Pathos. Lukas Wagner impressively took seventh as a freshman. Hanson currently has the top time in the conference according to Athletic.net. The girls graduate Alana Plaszcz, who finished second at the conference meet, but return fellow Top-10 finisher Kirstin Martinson. The other top 15 finishers also were lost to graduation. … Glenwood City’s girls return almost all their top runners, including sophomore Bella Simmons, who finished third at the conference meet. Also back are top 20 finishers in Isabella Williams, Emily Bethell, Kendall Schutz and Samantha Peterson. The boys were also young last year, led by now-senior Jabin Hojem. He’s joined by Austin Nelson, Elijah Simmons, Thomas Moede and Brendan Booth, among others. ... Mondovi’s numbers are up for both boys and girls, meaning the Buffaloes are hoping for a very solid season after not winning a meet last season. Head coach Aaron Hass said he hopes to see Morgan Clark, one of the team’s top returning girls, qualify for state after missing out by one spot last year. Also back is Madison Marsh, while the top of the boys is still looking to establish itself. Jack Accola was the top finisher in 39th at the conference meet. … Spring Valley took fourth in the boys and fifth in the girls but only lost two of the 14 competitors to graduation. Charlie Maier, who finished in 13th as a freshman leads the boys while senior Katherine Dieckman is the top returner for girls.
Augusta won the boys conference title last season and has been good this fall. The Beavers, led by Aaron Dorf, Dalton Robinson and Jacob Engstrom, took second at the Cadott Invite on Tuesday. Bailey Peterson has had a great fall for the girls, with multiple top-three finishes to her name. ... Blair-Taylor took second place in the conference on the both the boys and girls side last season. Anton Seiler recently took fourth place at the Tri-County Invite. ... Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran has most of last year's team back and has been led by Levi Wittorp and Andrew Lau on the boys side. There are only a few girls on the Lancers' roster. ... Eleva-Strum will look to grow after having only a few runners last year.
Heart O' North
Bloomer has needed to replace two state qualifiers on the boys team, including Cole Michaelsen, who took third in Division 2. Jaden Holm recently took 26th at the Rice Lake Invitational. Senior Vanessa Jenneman has led the charge for the girls. ... Chetek-Weyerhaeuser's Lana Blumer took 12th in Division 3 last year and leads the way for the Bulldogs.
—Previews by Spencer Flaten and Jack Goods, based on information provided by area coaches