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FALL PREVIEW: Youth factor highlights Wolverines’ roster

Photo by Sam Thiel Pictured are the Red Rock Central members of the Mountain Lake Area/Comfrey/RRC cross country team. Members include front row (L to R): Mikayla Weis, Sydney Vogel, Abby Evans, Elizabeth Strock and Theresa Nwaiga. Back row (L to R): Zak Zimmerman, Mason Irlbeck, Vander Mathiowetz, Damon Holmen, Evan Bartholomaus and coach Ryan Schnaith.

LAMBERTON — The Mountain Lake Area/Comfrey/Red Rock Central cross country team has a lot of newcomers heading into their season. One of them is their head coach, Ryan Schnaith, who is roughly a week into his new position with the team and hasn’t even seen his runners compete in a meet yet.

Schnaith said it’s too early to tell who will emerge as some of the leaders on either team, but will get a good look this Saturday at their home invite.

“That’s kind of up-in-the-air right now, it’s a little early in the season,” Schnaith said. “And it’s only my first week with the kids so I’ll get to actually watch them run this Saturday, that will be my first meet with them and I think that will give me a good idea of where they’re at.”

RRC returns one runner from last season in senior Elizabeth Strock, while the rest are all newcomers. RRC will look to sophomore Theresa Nwaiga, eighth-grader Sydney Vogel and seventh-graders Mikayla Weis and Abby Evans on the girls side to contribute to their times. On the boys side, RRC will be led by seniors Damon Holmen and Mason Irlbeck, along with junior Zak Zimmerman, sophomore Vander Mathiowetz and seventh-grader Evan Bartholomaus.

During the first stage of the season, Schnaith said they’ve been mixing things up with their practices, from light pack running to more intense tempo drills.

“I’d say it’s a variety of sorts. We try to vary it up between long and easy days where maybe you go for a 5-7 mile run at just jogging pace where you can work on pack running,” Schnaith said. “Those are the nice days where you get to know your teammates a little bit and then you have days like today (Wednesday) where we’ll do some tempo work on some of the local hills to get some power building in.”

Schnaith added that he expects his group to just continue to learn from each experience throughout the season.

“Honestly, I’m just hoping they can learn something from this whole experience,” Schnaith said. “Everybody is mostly new to this, so hopefully it’ll get them in shape for their other sports and it’ll bring them closer to their teammates and overall just have a fun time.”

Schnaith said he’s looking forward to getting to know his new team more as the season progresses.

“Getting to know the kids especially,” Schnaith said. “It would be really cool to get to know them outside of the classroom and I’m really glad to be part of an extra-curricular activity with them.”

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