USC cross country boys finish 14th

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 4, 2002

NORTHFIELD &045; Coach Kent Viesselman hopes people don’t view the United South Central boys’ cross country team’s 14th-place finish in the state meet as a disappointment.

It’s not a fair representation of the season.

&uot;A year ago, we thought we’d at best be an average team,&uot; said Viesselman. &uot;People thought I was just saying it but, no, I fully expected us to be bad. We lost our No. 2, 3 and 4 runners, with nobody in sight to replace them.&uot;

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The things fell into place for the Rebels, who made their 10th consecutive appearance in the state meet, where they finished the season Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

Staples-Motley won the Class A boys’ meet with 77 points. St. Cloud Cathedral was second with 127. The Rebels had 283 points, finishing ahead of Mayer Lutheran and Duluth Marshall.

Afterward, Viesselman was anything but downcast, and not just because his USC/Alden-Conger girls placed third.

&uot;I’m every bit as pleased with the boys as the girls,&uot; he said.

Leading the boys was senior Justin Youngblom, who took 16th among team competitors and 29th overall in 17:32.2. He missed all-state honors by four places. Following for the Rebels: Jake Stenzel, 47th team, 83rd overall, 18:25.5; Eric Youngblom, 65th, 107th, 18:40.1; Bob Schmitz, 72nd, 115th, 18:48.7; Spencer Niebuhr, 101st, 147th, 19:36.2; and Mike Soma, 107th, 154th, 20:23.4. There was a field of 159 runners.

Viesselman attributed the Rebels’ success this season to a number of factors, not the least of which was preparation by the runners.

&uot;Our top six runners all came in with at least 300 miles in the summer,&uot; said Viesselman. &uot;Bob Schmitz came out for the first time and really helped us, Eric Youngblom dropped over two minutes off his time from last year, and Justin Youngblom really developed into a positive leader for us.

&uot;People kind of look down their noses at eighth, 10th, 15 place,&uot; added Viesselman. &uot;But they forget there are 300-some Class A schools in the state of Minnesota. A lot of teams would like to trade places with us.&uot;