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Ready to take off

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HARTINGTON —  The 2018 Hartington-Newcastle cross country girls had some solid individual performers, but not enough athletes to field a full team. 

The Wildcat runners have the numbers to field a full team this year, and they are poised and ready to find success.

Three HNS runners, Jayda Bernecker, Sara Reifenrath and Sara Burbach, are shooting to make a return trip to State this season. Reifenrath is gunning for her fourth straight state appearance, while Bernecker and Burbach are hoping to make it three in a row this year.

They will be joined by Mackenzie Sudbeck and Makenzie Arens, who joined the girls team this season to fill out the team. 

“We are excited to have them,” Coach Mandy Hochstein said.

The Wildcat boys are hoping to get back to their very successful 2017 form. That team ended up placing third at the Boys State Cross Country Meet.

Four members of that 2017 team are back and ready to push for State again. They are: Dagen Joachimsen, Bode Noecker, Cole Noecker and Brayden Kathol.

Kathol and Joachimsen are seeking to make a third straight trip to State this season.

Three new runners have joined the squad and are expected to make an immediate impact this season — Carson Noecker, Alan Santiago and Lukas Wortmann. 

“They are dedicated runners who will add much to our team,” Hochstein said.

Coach Hochstein said this year’s team features a lot of depth and talent.

“The boys have numbers and are very competitive this year,” Coach Hochstein said. “I’m excited to see who makes the top six out of this very talented group of 16.” 

The local team will get the new season started on Thursday when they host the Hartington Invitational Cross Country meet. The meet is expected to begin at 4:30 p.m.

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