After delayed start to the season, the Poynette boys and girls cross country teams got its first look at what the strange 2020 season will look like with restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pumas kicked off the season with a dual/invite hosted by Palmyra-Eagle on Sept. 4.

“Our season is going to be a bit strange in that we can only run in dual meets at this time, as approved by our school board,” Poynette coach Kevin Frehner said. “Also, with the races being small, they will be a staggered start in some fashion. For example, on Friday, the boys started first and the girls two minutes later. Finally, there were three other teams there that started a race the same way 45 minutes later. It was scored as a dual against Palmyra-Eagle and as a five team invitational meet.”

The Poynette boys defeated Palmyra-Eagle 23-33 in the dual format. In the invite format, the Pumas came away with first place with 31 points.

“Our depth carried us, as P-E was able to match us pretty well up front, but ourN0. 3-7 runners were just too strong for them,” Frehner said. “We were able to put six runners in front of their fifth, with our seventh right behind.”

Palmyra-Eagle was second in the invite with 43 points, followed by Lake Mills (83), Parkview (86) and Waterloo (107).

The Lady Pumas scored 15 points against Palmyra-Eagle, which had an incomplete team. They finished with 52 points in the invite to place second behind Lake Mills (22) but ahead of Parkview (60), Waterloo (106) and Palmyra-Eagle (incomplete).

Justin Tucker led the way for the Puma boys. He finished second overall with his time of 18 minutes, 44 seconds.

“Tucker Johnson won our section of the race and took second overall,” Frehner said. “He led wire-to-wire and really wasn’t pushed in the second half of the race. He was able to maintain a good racing effort despite the lack of competition. He has done a significant amount of running this summer, and it showed.”

Poynette’s Trent Sickenberger was not far behind in fourth place after finishing in 19:28.

The Pumas also had Carter Hansen (seventh, 20:15), Trent Chadwick (eighth, 20:24) and Adam Hehl (10th, 20:43) finish in the top 10 overall.

“The trio of Carter Hansen, Trent Chadwick, and Adam Hehl were able to continue the strong racing efforts they showed at the end of last season,” Frehner said.

Isaiah Gauer (14th, 20:55) and Cash Stewart (16th, 20:58) were the final two varsity runners for the Poynette boys.

“Isaiah Gauer really ran a strong race,” Frehner said. “He beat a number of kids who had been beating him last season to be our sixth runner. It was his first time running on our varsity.”

At the Junior Varsity level, the Puma boys had Austin Kruger (20:59), Garret Johnson (21:07), Matthew Bartz (22:02), Tanis Crawford (22:39), Gabe Tobin (22:43), Dayne Bednarik (23:19), Dominic Graeme (23:57) and Wyatt McLaughlin (25:09) claim the top eight spots.

Katelyn Chadwick had a great race to lead the Lady Pumas. She had the top time of the day after clocking in at 20:43.

“Katelyn Chadwick was not challenged in the race against Palmyra-Eagle and was also the overall winner, setting a course record,” Frehner said.

Felicia Ritzke was the only other Lady Puma to finish in the top 10. She finished in 24:41 to place eighth overall.

“Felicia Ritzke ran a very good opening race, beating a girl from P-E who was an individual state qualifier last fall,” Frehner said.

Poynette had Sydney Tobin (25:41) and Megan Reddeman (25:45) finish back-to-back in 15th and 16th place, respectively.

“The race of the day belonged to Sydney Tobin,” Frehner said. “She obviously did a lot of work this summer to get ready for the season and it showed. She ran with great determination and confidence to be our No. 3 runner after being on JV most of last season.”

The final varsity runners for the Lady Pumas were Emma McGlynn (19th, 26:51), Maddie Lee (

25th, 30:21) and Hazel Ruckle (26th, 31:23).

The Lady Pumas had Sydney Small (fifth, 31:23), Isabella Morales (sixth, 31:44), Maddie Morton (eighth, 34:16), Ava Brickson (ninth, 36:30), Gracie Bergeman (10th, 36:36) and Whisper Erickson (11th, 37:16) run in the JV race.

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