Girls back with a letter for the Viking cross country team are (front, l-r) Dani Losen, Nora Lesmeister, Grace Blikre, Kathryn Kelly, Grace Brynsaas, Natalie Goodner, Natalie Stevens; (back) Elsa Johnson, Ana Simon, Kamryn Steines, McKenzie Riley, Amelia Wadsworth, Brynn Storhoff and Lily Sandhorst. (Photo courtesy of Tami Bohr)
There is a full roster, for the Decorah girls’ cross country team to pull from during the 2023 season with a mix of veterans and young athletes hungry to get back to the state meet.
After missing out on a trip to state again last season, the Vikes look to head coach Cristy Nimrod for guidance in her 22nd season, along with assistant coaches Jeff Wettach and Sarah Nowack.
A look at 2022
Decorah had some experience back on the courses for the 2022 season, including three-time state individual qualifier Rebecca Anderson, along with veteran runners Danielle Losen, Annalise Skrade, Brynn Storhoff, Kathryn Kelley and McKenzie Riley.
At the Northeast Iowa Conference meet in Fredericksburg, the Vikes raced hard with one goal in mind — getting back on top of the podium. When the points were tallied, Decorah fell one point shy behind New Hampton and two above third place Waverly-Shell Rock. Freshman Ana Simon was the first Viking to cross the finish line in seventh place, claiming an all-conference nod in 21:00.88. Finishing back-to-back, Skrade and Losen also were all-NEIC runners in 13th and 14th places, respectively. Skrade stopped the clock at 21:17.85, while Losen had a time of 21:29.07.
A week later, the Vikings’ season came to a close, as the squad finished fifth at the state-qualifying meet with 126 points. Simon and Losen just missed qualifying as individuals for the state meet, crossing the finish line in 17th and 18th positions. Simon posted a time of 20:33.37, while Losen completed the 5K in 20:33.57. Storhoff wrapped up the season in 27th place in 21:04.73, followed by Lily Sandhorst in 33rd in 21:22.78. Completing the scorecard for Decorah in 36th place was Skrade in 21:27.33. Also on the course were Anderson (42nd, 21:37.05) and Natalie Stevens (43rd, 21:38.98).
There was a big class of seniors in 2022 who has since graduated, including Rebecca Anderson, Madison Tollefson, Mairi Sessions, Annalise Skrade, Ramsey Zilka, Hailey Bower, Hannahn Schnitzler, Sylvia Sandhorst, Ellen Rooney, Sophia Christman, Madison Heim, Ellen Grouws, Alexandra Kane, Kortni O’Connell, Hailey Bohr, Chloe Chyle, Diep Doan, Amy Jensen and Grace Neal.
With 14 returning letter winners, Decorah will have the athletes to rely on to make a run at the NEIC title and potentially a state bid. Leading the way will be Losen, Storhoff, Kelly, Grace Brynsaas, Claire Schutte, Riley, Elsa Johnson, Kamryn Steines, Lily Sandhorst, Amelia Wadsworth, Grace Blikre, Natalie Goodner, McKenzie Tollefson and Ana Simon.
“I believe it will be a battle for the conference title and we have a good chance, while New Hampton and Crestwood will remain strong,” noted Coach Nimrod. “We have a good core of athletes who have trained well in the off season, and if we stay healthy, we should be competitive.”
Members of the 2023 edition of the Decorah girls cross country team are (front, l-r) Kealy Hines, Maria Riveros, Emily Myers, Abbie Valkosky, Dani Losen, Kathryn Kelly, Grace Brynsaas, Elayna Hook, Brynn Storhoff, Vivian Searcy, Ari Albert; (second row) Kylie Lemke, Nora Lesmeister, Ellie Adams, Ella Carlson, Olivia Volkman, Olivia Huinker, Grace Blikre, Ava Hanson, Jillian Volz, Lily Sandhorst, Stella Pole, Nina Sessions, Teagan Menke; (third row) Morgan Miculinich, McKenzie Riley, Elsa Johnson, Natalie Goodner, Marley Harmening, Lillian Dahlen, Willow Blair, Brinlee Courtney, Lillian Olson, Natalie Stevens, Ana Simon, Olivia Paulsen, Lauren Severtson; (back row) Coach Molly Holkesvik, Coach Cristy Nimrod, Kamryn Steines, Olivia Rissman, Amelia Wadsworth, Addy Lukes-Smith, Claire Storhoff, Lulu Bellrichard, Abby Larson, Drew Zwart, Kyra O’Hara, Amelia Roe, Coach Jeff Wettach, Coach Sarah Nowack. Not pictured are Elsa Christman, Deborah Hougen, Regine Hougen and Myla Leitz. (Photo courtesy of Tami Bohr)