On course for a good year

Fergus Falls cross country runner Conrad Lobb, left, competes in the Otters first meet of the 2020 season.

The Fergus Falls girls’ and boys’ cross country teams have already made their way back on the course and are looking to improve in 2020.

The Fergus Falls girls’ team will be anchored by seniors Emily Nuss, Karolyn Papon, Sierra Hatlewick. Ainsley Hansen and Natalie Fransen. The group will look to provide stability and help younger runners get up to speed as the 2020 season continues.

“As always we want to see our athletes improve in their performances and strength as a runner,” Otter girls head coach Niki Welde said.  “I can't say enough about each and every runners effort and desire to improve.  We are still unsure of conference and section championship opportunities at this time, but we will train as if we have that ahead of us.”

Welde will also be looking to up and comers Rebecca Schindler, Ellia Soydara, Brooklyn Berge,  Mariah Fults, Miah Schmidt, Naomi Dummer, Hannah Scharnberg, Julia Anderson,  Evelynn Hare, Ahlea Mouser, Kayley Reitmier and Sarah Grotberg to push for varsity time.

For the boys, the Otters return seven letter-winners from last year’s squad. Seniors Kolsen Papon and Mason Olson, juniors Conrad Lobb, Tucker Rowlan and Luke Schroeder, and sophomores Aiden Lindgren and Oliver Thorson provide a strong nucleus for head coach Derek Meyer to work with.

Eighth-graders Jack Welde, Jaden Miller, Logan Bredenberg and Alex Burrows are key up and comers for the Fergus Falls boys team.

Both teams will experience several changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic this season. The Otters will only compete in Central Lakes Conference meets and can only have three teams at a meet. “We had to cancel some of our traditional early-season activities like our camping/training camp, high ropes course team building activity and a scrimmage in DL.  These things are disappointing especially for the seniors who are missing out on them for their last season, but we are working hard to create events and experiences within the guidelines to fill in,” Welde said.

The team continues to follow daily health guidelines in practices and Welde stated that each athlete respects the current setup.

While the year is very different, Welde mentioned that the biggest difference is the unknown. “ I think the unknown will be our biggest hurdle.  I think things like protocol at meets, practices and school will be changing often.  Having that unknown factor out there is the biggest difference we will face,” Welde said.

Josh Sharnberg will assist Welde and Meyer this season.

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