The Northland Pines boys and girls cross country teams will take another week of improvement and put it to test this weekend as the annual Smiley Invitational, widely regarded as one of the top meets in the State, takes place at Tribute Golf Course in Wausau this Saturday.

“The Smiley is a big early-season meet for a lot of runners since they get a chance to measure themselves against some tougher competition from across the state,” coach Josh Tilley said. “The boys ran much better at SPASH (Stevens Point Area Senior High) last week than they did at Freedom the week before so we’re excited to get back to work this weekend.”

Adam Rzentkowski of Rosholt was the top overall finisher, and the only runner to post a time under 16 minutes, finishing in 15:50 to take top honors.

Pines senior and top runner Max Lurvey finished in 42nd place overall with a time of 18:20. 

Ben Tilley was 83rd fastest overall in the field of 206 runners, crossing the finish line in a time of 19:30. Right behind him was Frankie Milanowski who in 91st place posted a personal best in a time of 19:45.

Cooper Cox and Matt Szafranski were 124th and 125th respectively with times of 21:49 and 21:56. Just behind them came Lucky Svetnicka (22:02) in 127th and Jack Hayes (22:38) in 128th overall.

Stevens Point won the invite on the boys side with 50 total points. They were followed by Marshfield (104), Neenah (123), D.C. Everest (178), Rosholt (204), Assumption (208), Wisconsin Rapids (229), Waupaca (231) and Wausau West (232) rounding out the top ten.

Pines placed 15th overall in the meet which showcased 21 Division 1 and 2 teams from across Wisconsin.

Tilley said the biggest highlight came in the junior varsity boys race where Nick Petreikis improved his time from 32:18 to 26 minutes flat.

“This is a young man that has never run before and is seeing huge improvements,” said Tilley. “Taking six minutes off of his time is hard to imagine, but he is doing it with hard work and commitment.”

Girls finish 18th

The Northland Pines girls runners too saw some of the best competition of the young season as they scored 489 points overall to finish 18th out of 20 teams.

Stevens Point swept the top honors by winning the girls division also with a score of 53. Behind them were Verona (108), Neenah (159), Beaver Dam (167) and Auburndale (202) rounding out the top five.

Annalisa Callaghan was the top finisher for Pines with a 37th place time of 21:48. She was followed by Fanke Will (25:09) in 115th, Natalie Fluegel (26:10) in 127th, Jillian Gleason (27:11) in 134th and Sophia Lane (27:42).