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Valley looking for a whole program of cross country champions

Spring Valley's Derek Huebel leada a Cardinal boys' cross country team aiming for the same kind of success the girls' team has had recently.1 / 2
Spring Valley's girls team will be lead by one of seven returning letter winners including senior Sophie Koch.2 / 2

SPRING VALLEY - Finally they'll get to run.

The Spring Valley High School boys' cross country team never got a chance to compete in the season's first meet at Boyceville's Varsity Invitational. The race was canceled due to the extreme heat on afternoon of Aug. 30.

This afternoon, barring anything unexpected, the Cardinals will finally race in the St. Croix Central invitational in Hammonmd starting at 4:30 p.m. and will finally see whether the team's hopes for a successful 2013 seasom will come to fruition.

The SV boys team would like to have its own place in the sun along side the girls squad, the defending Dunn-St. Croix, sectional and state Division 3 champions. By contrast Valley's boys' team finished eighth in the conference meet and 10th in the sectional meet in 2012. New head coach Greg Dieckman is determined to make a whole program of champions.

"The boys are hungry to be noticed, they want the light on their efforts too," Dieckman said.  "Of course to get noticed you have to work hard and earn it and think they're doing just that. We have a good number of returning lettermen and some new runners who will be a big help."

SV lost senior lettermen Julian Manley, an All D-SC runner last fall, along with Lance Snyder, Jacob Richardson and Justin Ellefson. Another letterman, Tyler Hartung, decline to come out. Running back for the Redbirds in 2013 are seniors Derek Huebel and jacob Woeltjen, juniors Mitchell Johnson, Aiden Manley and Cole Snyder; and sophomores Jackson Hannack and Jordan Jensen.  A newcomer, senior Tyler Ellefson, will be strong addition to the team according to Dieckman.

"My expectations for the boys' team isn't so much about times or places right now but about effort," Dieckman said.  "We can't really set anything until we've run our first few races but one thing we will expect is consistently good effort."

Expectations also need to be tempered for the defending state champion girls' team. While there are a number of returning letter winners and the team had a good effort to start season off at Boyceville, finishing second out of 19 squads the team is dealing with new realities this fall. Gone to graduation were some of the Cards' best runners from last season such Breanna Colbenson and Riley Bowman and varsity runner Sara King declined to come out. Not only that but junior letter winner Liz Anderson has been battling injuries at the start of the 2013 season. 

"We have to keep things in perspective because this is a new team," Dieckman said. "And like all championship teams, you start over from the very beginning, not where you left off. They're not going to dominate right away. They have to develop as their own team."

As their own team Valley will still be very good. They return a core of letter winning runners in seniors Emma Gaustad, Sophie Koch, Brianna Wyss, Claire Arneson and Lillie Anderson, juniors Liz Anderson and Pearl Davis and sophomores Rachel Coyne and Jacquline Dieckman. Both Gaustad and Anderson are returning All D-SC runners and Davis and Koch were honorable mention. A newcomer, junior Taylor Leach, made a soild debut finishing in the top 40 of the Boycveille race in her first-ever meet.

"We have a number of runners who ran JV last fall like Brianna, Jacquline, Rachel, Claire and Lillie or are new to the sport but very talented like Taylor who can fill the shoes of those empty shoes from last year's team." Dieckman said.

Dieckman said he wants the program that can be a team but also allowed for personal competitiveness.

"It's a team sport and we want to keep it that way for us," Dieckman said. "We want the kids to encourage and push each other and have a positive reinforcement. But I feel we also need to be comeptitive, even as teammates, to help get those times lower through practice. Friendly rivalries, so to speak, but ones which will help the whole team excel."