ASHLAND, Wis. — Thursday’s season-opening cross country race was called the Ashland Invitational.
The Ashland Mud Run would have been more appropriate.
The Ashland course was soaked after storms early in the week combined with a big one just before the meet Thursday that flooded and closed lanes on U.S. 2.
There weren’t many dry spots on the course; even the rain rarely quit falling as the storms at least mainly stayed away.
“It was definitely messy,” new Hurley coach Hope Bretting said. “I think once you got wet, it was more fun to go through the puddles than if it had only been a couple.
“A couple mud puddles never stopped any cross country runners.”
Two Ironwood runners finished in the top five. Jared Joki was third in the boys race at 18:25.6 behind winner Bryan Tomek of Tomahawk in 17:51.4. Jessica Gering was fourth in the girls four-kilometer event at 17:42.4. Ashland’s Harley Kinney won in 16:46.8.
Chequamegon won the boys race and Tomahawk took the girls side in the very competitive meet that mixed big and small schools.
Rachel Mazurek was 33rd for Bessemer.
The Ironwood boys took 10th. Michael Barto was Ironwood’s second runner in 72nd place.
“This is one of those meets where we can’t really stress on times,” said Ironwood coach Ben Schmandt, who was not among the runners who had fun with the wet courses when he was a cross country runner.
“It’s muddy. It’s muggy. Everyone has to run through it, so there’s no excuses there. But in the same breath, the time on the clock, take it with a grain of salt and move on.”
Bessemer’s Zack Mazurek finished 12th. Dakota Rice paced Hurley in 45th.
“It was a good first meet, barring the weather and kind of a chaotic start to the cross country season, switching coaches,” said Bretting, who replaced Chris Tweiten and found out she got the job while on her honeymoon this month.
Team: 1. Chequamegon 45, 2. Superior 86, 3. Northwestern 98, 4. Tomahawk 106, 5. Drummond 148, 6. Hayward 151, 7. Ashland 166, 8. Washburn 187, 9. Barron 227, 10. Ironwood 237.
Winner: Bryan Tomek, Tomahawk, 17:51.4.
Ironwood: 3. Jared Joki, 18:25.6, 72. Michael Barto, 23:31.2, 75. Jerad Hinds, 23:39.7, 80. Colin Clausen, 23:45.6, 104. Ryan Sobolewski, 26:25.6, 114. Erik Tervonen, 28:50, 118. Adam Magdziak, 30:00.2.
Bessemer: 12. Zack Mazurek, 19:30.5.
Hurley: 45. Dakota Rice, 21:43, 58. Luke Marczak, 22:40, 70. Cody Starkey, 23:26.8.
Winner: Harley Kinney, Ashland, 16:46.8.
Ironwood: 4. Jessica Gering, 17:42.4, 40. Sarah Johnson, 19:54.9, 42. Katie Piispapnen, 19:58.5, 50. Neva Bentley, 20:25.2, 65. Corissa Mattson, 21:39.5
Hurley: 35. Kirkie Pecotte, 19:42.1, 48. Gabby Pecotte, 20:21.7, 58. Rachel Fedora, 21:24.3, 68. Morgan Pinardi, 21:48.7, 71. Kayla Subert, 22:00.2, 78. Tori Colassaco, 22:28.6, Sam Lardinois, 24:39.3, 108. Natalie Moon, 25:20.2.
Bessemer: 33. Rachel Mazurek, 19:33.