Rebels third at state

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

NORTHFIELD &045; Midway through the season, the United South Central/Alden-Conger girls’ cross country team was, according to coach Kent Viesselman, written off by a lot of people.

The Rebels proved those people wrong.

After defeating the No. 2 rated team in the state in the Section 2A meet, the Rebels took the third-place trophy in Saturday’s Class A state meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

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The Rebels, who at one point this season were without three injured starters, still had three girls running hurt on Saturday.

&uot;People told me at the section meet, they were shocked that we made it through,&uot; said Viesselman, who completed his 40th season as a head coach. &uot;This might be the best bunch of athletes I’ve ever coached in terms of mental toughness, ability to rise above adversity, hard work, enthusiasm, positive attitude &045; all those things.&uot;

The USC/A-C boys also had a strong showing in their 12th consecutive state appearance, finishing 10th among 16 squads.

Staples-Motley ran away with the girls’ title with 45 points as the Rebels took third for the second year in a row, matching the best finish in school history. The rest of the top five had St. Cloud Cathedral with 129, the Rebels 152, Winona Cotter 169 and Canby, Minneota/Lincoln 184.

The Rebels’ places and times: Jamie Klein, ninth, 15:15; Becca Bryson, 12th, 15:24; Megan Jensen, 42nd, 16:07; Lindsey Rauenhorst, 44th, 16:09; Katie Schultz, 45th, 16:09; Katie Jensen, 84th, 17:05; Joelle Elmer, 106th, 17:45.

&uot;I don’t know if I’ve ever been more proud of a group of kids as that girls’ team,&uot; said Viesselman. &uot;They really had a lot to overcome.&uot;

Katie Jensen is the lone senior on the squad.

Staples-Motley’s boys won with 54 points, with Perham second at 75. The Rebels had 272 points for 10th.

Viesselman said it was a satisfying showing.

&uot;What we had there was a team,&uot; said the coach. &uot;We didn’t really have the outstanding runner we’ve been blessed with other years. We talked earlier about what would be reasonable, and we figured 10th or 12th (place in the state meet) would be good if everyone ran well. It’s just a nice bunch of kids who have worked hard. They showed what hard work can do.&uot;

Rebel places and times at state: Bob Schmitz, 38th, 17:24; Jake Stenzel, 40th, 17:26; Brad Tomschin, 50th, 17:34; Eric Youngblom, 63rd, 17:47; Matt Mueller, 81st, 18:10; Spencer Niebuhr, 96th, 18:34; Erik Melby, 108th, 19:23.

Schmitz and Stenzel are the only seniors.

&uot;I’m very pleased with both the boys and girls,&uot; said Viesselman. &uot;They earned it. We had 17 kids at the state meet, and 16 of them put in 300 or more miles last summer. It’s no fluke that we got there. It was a lot of hard work.&uot;

(Contact Jim Lutgens at or 379-3437.)