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County harrier teams survive heat at Boyceville Invite; Valley girls take second

Spring Valley's Emma Gaustad had the Cardinal's best finish at the Boyceville Varsity Invitational. 3 / 4
EPC's Heidi Webb and Libby Feuker run together ahead of a pack of runners.4 / 4

BOYCEVILLE - Spring Valley High School girls' cross country team finished second and Elmwood/Plum City was eighth in the 19-team field at the Boyceville Varsity Invitational. But more important than where the teams finished was simply leaving the meet healthy after six runners in the field were taken to the hospital in Menomonie for heat exhaustion.

The meet started at 3 p.m. with temperatures reaching in low 90s and dew points in the mid-60s.  A hard driving pace was set early on the fast course and runners far behind from the lead pack were already either dropping on the race course at Tiffany Creek Eelementary School, attended by coaches and Gator drivers, or just walking the course to save energy. Water stations were set up around the course and coaches were allowed to give runners water bottles during the race itself or spray water water on the runners as they went by. A spray station and the football team's drinking fountains were also running.

However it wasn't enough as water at the finish line was quickly used up, teams quickly went through their own supplies of water and ice and the water stations on the course ran out of water as well. Because of the situation, the coaches and meet officials, after a brief meeting, cancelled the rest of the meet just before the boys' race.

When a Cameron runner passed out due to the heat after she had finished the race, a 911 emergency call was placed and ambulances came quickly from both Boyceville and Menomonie. One runner down on the course had to be attached to an IV bag.

There was no updated condition of the runners in hospital although Matt Feeney of the Boyceville EMS said in a story on WEAU-TV Eau Claire's website that the runners should be fine.

Glenwood City won the meet with a score of 94 followed by SV, who scored 100.  All five of Valley's scoring runners finished in the top 40 led by Emma Gaustad's eighth place in 18:24, Sophie Koch's 15th place showing in 19:10, Pearl Davis 21st in19:46.7, Taylor Leach 22nd in 19:46.8 and Jacquline Dieckman 34th in 20:36.

"For a first me, considering the conditions, we're very pleased with the outcome," Spring Valley head coach Greg Dieckman said. "We're happy to leave without any injuries or illness which is most important." 

EPC had four of its runners place in the top 40 too led by Heidi Webb's 27th place finish in 20:06. After her were Josie Tiffany 33rd in 20:23; Libby Feuker 37th in 20:31; Amber Osteen, 38th in 20:32; Abby Larson finished 89th in 31:30; and Morgan Rupakus 91st in 34:11. Unlike the more veteran Spring Valley squad, three of EPC's runners were running in their very first meet. 

"We had real good pack running today," EPC coach Kris Flesberg said. "We practiced in the heat this past week. We kept the kids very hydrated and they got to cool off in the Eau Galle after practice and they able handle a very tough situation."

Winning the race was Alicia Monson of Amery in 17:25. Colfax's Danielle Dachel was second in 17:25 and Cameron's Megan Maresca was third in 17:32. Cameron fiished third in the team standings with 100 points followed by Baldwin-Woodville 127, Fall Creek 134, Colfax 143, Amery 189, EPC 224, Elk Mound 228, Cadott 245, Lake Holcombe/Cornell 245, Durand 247, St. Croix Central 262 and Chippewa Falls McDonnell 365. Mondovi, Boyceville, Stanley-Boyd, New Auburn and Augusta were all incompletes.