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WDC harriers looking for more experience

Photo by Brian Hansel Wadena-Deer Creek cross country runners Brody Wangsness, Emma Schmitz and Sydney Greenwaldt wrap up a practice session together Monday morning in Wadena. The Wolverines open their 2012 season Aug. 27 in Morris.

Terry Olson's Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines will feature new faces this season, but will also wrestle with a lack of experience.

"I'm pretty happy," Olson said as he kicked off a second full week of practice. "They're trying hard and they've been able to do the workout."

Olson has a state qualifier back in sophomore Emma Schmitz. Making her first appearance at the state meet in Northfield last year, Schmitz placed 82nd in a field of 156 runners with a time of 16:19.9. She earned the trip with a fourth place time of 16:02.10 at the Section 8 meet in Bagley.

"She looks pretty fit," Olson said. "She's going to have to run really well to do it again."

The Wolverines have a junior in Sydney Greenwaldt, a sophomore in Brianna Rosenthal, eighth-graders in Gabi Ross and Liz Peterson and seventh-graders in Lindy Jones and Tiffany Meeks.

Greenwaldt ran the 400 and 800 in track last spring, and Olson likes her attitude.

"She puts her heart and soul into everything she does," Olson said.

Rosenthal has one year of cross country and track behind her, and the young harrier has already impressed Olson.

"She's starting ahead of where she was last year," Olson said.

Peterson is a second-year performer with good endurance.

"She likes to go for it," Olson said. "She's not afraid to run hard."

Olson also rates Ross as a hard competitor, after seeing her run with his harriers for the first time last fall.

"She likes to do well," Olson said. "She goes hard."

The team's only senior is Joey Pate. Olson added Pate to his varsity unit three years ago. Pate was bothered by allergies for the first two years.

"Every year he has improved," Olson said. "Last year he improved enough so that he was running very strong at the end."

Sophomore Brody Wangsness started running cross country as a seventh grader. He ran the hurdles for Olson last spring in track.

Making up the rest of the boys' team are junior Adam Leverson, sophomore Tristin Godel, eighth-graders Joey Najjar and Konnor Stueve and seventh-grader Ryan Grendahl.

Olson regards Perham as the area's strongest cross country team. The Yellowjackets lost the Class A boys' title to St. Cloud Cathedral last year by just one point. The Perham girls placed 10th in team competition.