Last season, the Tomah High School boys cross country team finished in the top half of the Mississippi Valley Conference standings for the first time since Tomah joined the conference in 1989.
Tomah’s runners like the view from up there. Coach Jon Heesch said the goal is even more ambitious for 2019: a conference championship.
“I know it’s a lofty goal,” Heesch said. “I know a lot of people would be surprised if it happened, but it’s not out of the question.”
The Timberwolves are reaching for the top with a roster of 22 runners, including six letterwinners from last season, five of whom earned all-conference honors at last year’s MVC meet.
The leaders are seniors Caleb Lenning and Eugene Peterson, who alternated as Tomah’s top runner last season. Lenning finished seventh at the MVC meet and was Tomah’s first all-conference runner since Reese Butterfuss in 2010. He’s coming off a strong track season when he was Regional champion in the 1,600-meter run.
Peterson and senior Eric Tollfeson are back after earning second-team honors last season, while returning letterwinners Coy Nelson and Kale Gnewikow, both juniors, were honorable mention.
Heesch likes his senior class.
“This is a huge senior class, and most of them are four-year runners,” he said. “Of our nine seniors, five have a very legitimate chance of running varsity. They’ve done it before, and they’re hungry to improve.”
There’s plenty of talent behind the top five. Junior letterwinner Weston Boettcher is back, along with returning senior Jesse Smith, Tomah’s top junior varsity runner last year. Transfer student Thai Davis, a senior, is an experienced runner, and sophomore Ty Schanhofer is the underclassman most likely to grab a varsity spot.
“We’re going to be very strong one through 10,” Heesch said. “I think our jayvee team will be as strong as anybody’s.”
The rest of the roster includes:
- Seniors—Samuel Burbach, Charles Ella, Austin Lyden, Eric Wilcox-Borg.
- Juniors—Jude Begay, Thorvald Lass, Daniel Swanson.
- Sophomores—Jeremy Kuhn, Robert Savage, Calvin Zeps.
- Freshmen—Carl Oskar Wilcox-Borg, Tyler Hausman, Jeremiah Parrot.
Heesch said it’s a roster determined to make a name for Tomah cross country.
“They’re building a tradition,” he said. “We did something last year that not many people thought we would be able to do. Our challenge to ourselves is to prove everybody wrong; prove that we belong.
Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MVC BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
Results from 2018 meet
La Crosse Aquinas;42
La Crosse Logan;52
La Crosse Central;184