Three Lakes runners make big impact at Smiley Invitational Submitted: 09/17/2017
WAUSAU - On Saturday, we told you about the success that Northwoods teams had at the annual Smiley Invitational in Wausau. At that meet, Three Lakes' Jared Zwettler and Kortnie Volk both finished in the top 10 in the Division 2 & 3 race.

It's only Jared's first year on the team, but that hasn't stopped him from making a big impact.

Zwettler has really enjoyed his first year of running cross country.

"I've had a little bit of success here and there, but I have a lot of work left to do," said Zwettler.

Last fall, he broke his ankle playing soccer. But he recovered quickly and made it to the state track meet in the spring for the mile race.

"It was incredible. There were so many people there. It was an experience I won't ever forget," said Zwettler.

He decided to run cross country instead of go back to soccer this year. And the move has paid off for him. He placed 10th in the Division 2 & 3 race at the Smiley Invite on Saturday.

"I think they played into my hands a little bit because I have a pretty good kick," said Zwettler.

He wasn't the only impressive Three Lakes runner to finish in the top 10. Sophomore Kortnie Volk finished in fifth place.

"I knew it was going to be fast and I got a [personal record]," Volk said. "I broke 20 [minutes], which was one of my goals for this year."

Zwettler's addition to the team has also helped the rest of the team get better.

"His positivity and just how he pushes us, and we laugh together and it's a great atmosphere," said Volk.

He's also helped them get faster. Kortnie has started training with Jared.

"I try and stay right behind him, with a little space because he's obviously a little faster than me. But he's a great rabbit for me to try and catch," said Volk.

And she'll continue to try and catch him as he tries to catch a pretty lofty goal of taking about 45 seconds off his 5K time.

"I hope to get close to 16 [minutes] or under, so I still have a little bit of work to do there," said Zwettler.

But that work isn't going unnoticed. The two runners are helping people realize that Three Lakes can and will compete with the bigger schools.

"I feel like we represent really well, and I take pride in that because when they think about Three Lakes, they think, 'Oh yeah, those cross-country runners, they have a lot of guts and they're really great,'" said Volk.

Story By: Katie Leszcynski

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