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The fall season of the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League got underway last week with 2,800 athletes from 110 different schools competing across the state.  The fall league, which is about one-quarter the size of the spring league, has been growing in popularity but differs from the opposite season in length and the fact there is no state competition at the end.

But, this hasn't dulled interest with NRHEG as the team is fielding its biggest fall squad with 51 athletes. This puts the team in the largest conference competing against teams from Northfield, Alexandria, Buffalo, Farmington, East View High, Park of Cottage Grove, and White Bear Lake. The key to shooting with a large squad, interestingly enough, isn't about having a handful of excellent shooters so much as having a lot of average to above average shooters.

The NRHEG volleyball team knew defending state champion Waterville-Elysian-Morristown would be a tough test, and it was.

The Panthers battled hard, according to coach Onika Peterson, but lost 3-0 at Waterville Thursday, Sept. 29, falling by scores of 25-13, 25-20, 25-20.

“We knew that they have had a lot of success this season,” said Coach Peterson. “Our goal was to make them earn every single point to make sure we competed the whole time. I was very happy with how the girls played. They never gave up, never backed down.”

Individually for NRHEG: Maddie Wagner 3 kills, 2 digs, 1 ace block; Marnie Wagner 6 kills, 1 assist, 6 digs, 1 ace block; Natalie Aaseth 1 kill; Gretchen Ramaker 2 kills, 2 ace blocks; Rachel Collins 1 kill, 14 assists, 5 digs; Erin VanWilgen 1 dig, 1 ace serve; Olivia Christopherson 3 kills, 1 dig; Betsy Schoenrock 4 kills, 1 assist; Grace Johns 14 digs.

The NRHEG cross country teams traveled to Janesville for a 4800-meter trial Thursday, Sept. 29.

Blue Earth Area’s boys topped the field with 34 points. WEM/JWP scored 35, NRHEG 60.

For the Panthers: Ben Lewer, fourth, 18:42; Josh Fleming, fifth, 18:48; Kollin Reese, 15th, Jager Beck, 17th, 22:35; Orin Mely, 18th, 25:32.

“Ben had a great race,” said coach Mike Weber. “Ben and Josh have been putting in solid practices and you can see their efforts paying off on the course. It was nice seeing both in the top five. Kollin continues to run well and keeps lowering his times. Jager and Orin also made the top 20. The team score doesn’t necessarily reflect the nice job they did tonight. The boys ran well overall.”