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Cross-Country: Deep Wingers lineup looks to move up

Senior Aiden Winn (left) and sophomore George Nemanich stay step-for-step during practice Friday. Winn returns after being the lone Red Wing runner to qualify for last year’s state cross-country championship meet. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)1 / 2
Red Wing freshman Elise Leise leads the pack of Winger girls runners during practice Friday at Mississippi National Golf Links. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)2 / 2

In three of the last four years, Red Wing boys cross-country has been on the outside looking in. 

In 2009, 2010 and 2012, the Wingers could only manage third-place finishes at the Section 1AA championship meet, while the top two teams from the section head to the state tournament. 

Suffice it to say, Red Wing’s goal in 2013 is pretty straightforward. 

“I don’t need to tell you what we’re shooting for this year,” said Wingers’ head cross-country coach Jesse Nelson. “The boys are doing the work and doing what they need to do.”

Returning most of its roster from 2012 and with a pack of 10-12 runners who are challenging for spots on the varsity, Nelson is hoping the boys are finally able to break through and make their first trip back to state since 1999.

“Both the boys and girls have about 13 to 14 girls in their groups, and last year that wasn’t the case,” Nelson said. “We’re going to be big in numbers; we got 112 kids on the roster. We’re deep in experience, we’re deep in numbers and we’re deep in talent. We’re expecting big things this year.”

Setting the tone for the Red Wing boys is senior Aiden Winn. The only Wingers runner to reach the state cross-country championship meet last season, Winn took 96th with a time of 16 minutes, 49.9 seconds. He was also a member of the Red Wing 4x800-meter relay team that broke a school record on the way to a state appearance.

But Winn isn’t the only one leading the pack for the boys. Not far behind is sophomore George Nemanich. 

“George has been step-for-step with Aiden in practice,” Nelson said. “We have everybody back and I think they’re a lot better this year.”

Marcus Warrington, Joe Partington, Meyer Beckner, Darrick Jackson and Ryan Schnaith also return to the Wingers after competing in the section meet last season.

Winger girls

Meanwhile, the Winger girls bring back the bulk of its varsity roster, including their top runner from a year ago in senior Lindsay Scribner. At last year’s section championship, Scribner led the team with a 14th-place time of 15:38.7, which was 14 seconds away from a state berth.

The key for Red Wing is staying healthy. Last year, three varsity runners – Kelsee Anderson, Hailee Johnson and Elise Leise – missed time due to various injuries. Now, they’re back, they’re healthy and they are anxious to get the year going.

“Everyone’s healthy and their attitudes are great,” Nelson said. “We return the core group of Lindsay Scribner, Elise Leise and Adelle DeSutter.”

One runner Nelson is anxious to see get going is junior Hannah Rosenow, who has come into practice with a higher intensity, according to the coach.

“With Hannah, you won’t find her in the varsity results from last year,” Nelson said, “but she’s come in this year and she’s decided to become one of our top runners this year.”

With the depth the girls bring in this season, Nelson expects a big improvement from a lineup that finished 10th in the section meet last year.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the girls are in the top three or four in the section. Not surprised at all,” Nelson said. “We want to go after some of those teams in the Big 9 Conference and the other teams we can compete with.”

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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