Cross Country: Rugby girls looking to defend state title for third straight year

Local Sports

The Rugby girls’ cross country team has undoubtedly been successful in the past. Back-to-back class B state champions in 2019 and 2020.

And with most of the team returning this season, they’re looking to defend their title for the third year…

“I’m excited for another year no matter how it turns out,” said Bill Jansen, head coach.

“On my way up here I was thinking about that and I was like, ‘We are back-to-back state champs!’ I was like, I don’t know, just thinking about it … it’s going to be tough. We’ve lost a couple girls that really helped us last season. I saw some new faces so hopefully those new girls and then our old girls, we’re just ready to give it our all and do it again,” said Quinn Neppl, senior.

“I feel like I have a lot of faith in our team still. And we just run,” said Kendyl Hager, junior.

“There’s a lot of good younger kids coming up,” said Brooklyn Bartsch, sophomore.

And having younger runners join the team can be intimidating. Especially if you’re an eighth-grader or freshman competing with juniors and seniors.

But these Panthers say they’re going to offer advice and help them every step of the way.

“Just work hard and give it your all because you never know when the day could be your last,” Neppl said.

“Probably just pushing each other at practice and just support and motivate each other to the best way we can,” Hager said.

“If you understand that, you know, it’s just a race, you run to get better all year long and then hopefully you have a good race at the end of the year, and however it turns out, it turns out. If you’ve prepared well and you’re not stressed about everything, that’s not the deal, you just go out and run a race, you’re probably going to be okay,” Jansen said.

“To be state champs!”

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