It was a cold (34 degrees with a pesky wind) late afternoon for the Section 5A Boys and Girls Cross Country Meet Thursday, Oct. 24, at Stones Throw Golf Course in Milaca. Most of the runners didn’t discard their sweat suits until seconds before the start of the two races.
The weather apparently didn’t bother Milaca’s entrants as 10 of the 13 posted their best times of the season.
“It was cold for those watching but most runners like a crisp day to run,” said Milaca Coach Dave Dillan, who was also director for the meet. “And, we ran very well.
“Of course, we had hoped to bust a couple kids through to state but we came up just short. Overall, we were happy with our performance.”
Eighth-grader Jon Hall, in his first season of cross country, led Milaca’s boys as he placed 23rd in 17:40.5, dropping his previous best time by 30 seconds.
“Jon ran an outstanding race,” said Dillan. “A top 25 finish at the section meet is tough to get and to do it as an eighth-grader is quite an accomplishment.”
Veteran senior Cam Sundberg placed 31st in 17:53.2.
“Cam came out a little too fast and lost some energy at the end, but he was still just two seconds off his personal best and seven seconds faster than his time at the Milaca Mega Meet in September,” said Dillan. “As he has done through his cross country career, he gave it his best effort.”
Junior Dray Thomas-Ferry placed 56th in 18:38.8, junior Jake Riebel was 80th in 19:16.3, ninth-grader Zack Korvela was 86th in 19:30.8 and junior Cole Patten was 109th in 20:29.2. All dropped their times.
The top five placers for each team count in compiling the team’s score.
The Wolves finished ninth in the team standings with 274 points.
Mora won the 19-team meet with a score of 47 points, with Glencoe-Silver Lake placing second with 77 points. Those two earned berths to the Class A State Meet Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield.
Maple Lake was third with 132 points and Foley was fourth with a score of 139.
Junior Alex Wischnack of Norwood-Young America won the boys title with a time of 16:42.4 over the 5,000-meter course. Sophomore Connor Schank of Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted was second in 16:53.6 and junior Jac Chelman of Glencoe-Silver Lake was third in 16:56.6.
Sophomore Noah Moravec led Mora’s champions by finishing fourth in 17:04.2.
Junior Alex Ploeger finished 22nd in 16:00.8 to lead Milaca’s girls. She dropped her personal best time by 23 seconds.
“Like Cam, Alex was disappointed she was not able to qualify for the state meet,” said Dillan. “But, it’s a touch section and she can be very proud of what she accomplished.”
Ninth-grader Emma Bolt was 54th in 17:19.5, seventh-grader Jerica Ploeger was 84th in 18:06.4, senior Tania Holm was 91st in 18:14.6, senior Ellen So was 92nd in 18:19.2, eighth-grader Kendall Rensenbrink was 94th in 18:25.8 and ninth-grader Hailey Stobb was 115th in 20:16.4.
“Emma and Hailey set new personal best times and our two junior high girls, Jerica and Kendall, did a super job running in their first varsity race,” said Dillan.
Milaca placed 11th in the team standings with a score of 331.
Annandale won the girls title with a score of 53 points while Spectrum-Legacy also earned a state berth by placing second with a score of 89.
Mora, led by senior Bethany Coop, placed third at 108 and Maple Lake was fourth at 138.
Annandale sophomore Elizabeth Schlafke won the girls individual title with a time of 14:46.3 over 4,000 meters. Teammate senior Courtney Alama was an eyelash behind her and placed second in 14:46.8.
Coop was third in 15:03.9 and senior Jennie Walz of Providence Academy was fourth in 15:05.8.
The top eight placers who were not on a state-qualifying team advanced to the Class A State Individual Meet, also at St. Olaf Saturday.
The Class A girls race is at 1 p.m., with the Class A boys race at 2.