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Spring Valley harriers hope to keep everything in place to compete

Srping Valley runner Aiden Manley with a strong finish. Photo by Janine Smetana. 1 / 2
Pearl Davis is one of the last runners from Spring Valley's state championship team of 2012.2 / 2

SPRING VALLEY - Elizabeth Anderson is on the roster and so is Sara King. These two senior cross country runners, combined with the returning letter winners on the 2014 Spring Valley High School girls’ squad, would make for a very formidable team.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals that won't be the case.

The Lyme disease that kept Anderson from competing a full schedule last season will keep her out again in 2014. And the hip surgery which sidelined King last fall she’s still recovering from.

"Sara might be able to run again this season but if she does it will be deep into our schedule," second-year SVHS head coach Greg Dieckman said.

While the Cardinal girls had a solid season in 2013, winning the Prescott Invitational and finishing second in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference and fourth in the sectional meet, they have that gnawing feeling of what could-have-been had all the pieces been together all at the same time.

 "We all felt we could have done better,” Dieckman said. “But we still did well for what we had and for what we could control.”

Of what the Cards’ can control in 2014 is a squad which has to replace All D-SC runners like Emma Gaustad, Clare Arneson and Sophie Koch along with departed seniors Brianna Wyss and Lillie Anderson.

Returning letter winners include senior Taylor Leach, who was honorable mention All D-SC last fall, senior Pearl Davis, who competed on Spring Valley’s 2012 state championship varsity squad, juniors Jacqueline Dieckman, Jordan Ninneman and Christa Brorson and sophomores Whitney Hartung and Katy Schreiber. The freshmen on the team are Brianna O’Brien and Britton Johnson.

“Pearl is our No. 1 runner and Taylor is our No. 2 after a solid run last fall,” Dieckman said. “Jacqueline and Christa come in at No. 3 and No. 4 and then after them are question marks as to where our other runners fit in.”

There are question marks at the back of the Spring Valley boys’ team line-up too but like the girls’ team the top three to four slots for the varsity seem set. All D-SC runner Aiden Manley is back for his senior season and joining him are fellow returning lettermen like senior Tyler Ellefson, senior Mitchell Johnson, juniors Jack Hannack, Jordan Jensen and Quinton Elliott and sophomore Patrick Cipriano.

“Aiden went to state in track and he's got a great opportunity to make state in cross country as well,” Dieckman said. “Tyler has overcome a knee injury which set him back last season. He’s running really well in practice. Mitchell has improved a lot. We have a good senior class and if we can build around them with runners like Pat, Jordan and Jack and others with good potential, then we can have good team.”

The Cardinal boys have been slowly rising up to try reach the level the girls’ team has been at for past four seasons. SV finished sixth in the D-SC meet and ninth in the sectional in 2013.

“The guys are really confident they will have good season,” Dieckman said. “Their expectations are high and certainly I think we’ll have a more competitive team. The boys’ side of the conference is more wide open than the girls’ side is where Colfax and Glenwood City have a hammer-lock on the top two spots. If we stay healthy, we’ll see where our confidence can take us.”