Cross Country runners set sights on state meet championships
Posted: Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 8:50 AM
Six races in three enrollment classes with more than 1,100 runners competing will flood the course on Saturday, Nov. 6 at St. Olaf College in Northfield for the Minnesota State High School League’s Cross Country State Meet. With the addition of a third class in each of the boys and girls fields, it represents the first state meet format change since 1975, the first in the two-class system.
This state championship day of racing is the first since 2019. In 2020, the meet was cancelled during the global pandemic.
Here is a look at the schedule:
· 9:30 a.m. --- Class AAA boys
· 10:30 a.m. --- Class AAA girls
· 11:15 a.m. --- Awards
· Noon --- Class A boys
· 1 p.m. --- Class A girls
· 1:45 p.m. --- Awards
· 2:30 p.m. --- Class AA boys
· 3:30 p.m. --- Class AA girls
· 4:15 p.m. --- Awards
· Wayzata is the top-ranked team in the big-school field and favored to win the 13th team title in school history. Minneapolis Southwest is ranked second by the state coaches association and Minnetonka is third. Minnetonka junior Nick Gilles is top-ranked in Class AAA followed by Robbinsdale Armstrong’s Noah Breker. Minneapolis Southwest sophomore Sam Scott is ranked No. 3. Scott has the fastest time of the season, covering 5,000 meters in 15 minutes, 12 seconds during the Minneapolis City Conference Championships on Oct. 13.
· Edina, the Section 2AAA champion, enters the meet as the top-ranked team in the field. The Hornets topped Prior Lake for the section crown and will face stiff competition from No. 2 Wayzata, the Section 6AAA champion and a Lake Conference rival. St. Michael-Albertville senior Ali Weimer has the fastest time in all classes this season with a time of 17:17.90 on Oct. 14 at the Lake Conference Championships. She was the Class AA champion in the 1,600 last spring during the track and field state meet.
· St. Paul Highland Park, the Section 3AA champion, is top-ranked in the team race. Big Lake, the Section 5AA champion, is ranked second followed by Monticello, the runner-up to Big Lake. Breck junior Alden Keller has the fastest time this season in the Class AA field with a 15:29 recorded at the Eagle Ridge Academy Invitational on Oct. 6. Belle Plaine junior Emmett Gerres is ranked second and qualified individually.
· St. Paul Highland Park could be bringing a second team trophy home as well. The Scots are ranked No. 1 in the girls field and are fueled by senior Molly Moening. The three-sport standout (cross country, Nordic Skiing, track and field) is ranked second individually. This past winter, she was the Pursuit champion during the Nordic Skiing State Meet. Hutchinson sophomore Isabelle Schmitz is top ranked. She has the fastest time in the Class AA girls field this season with a time of 17:56.3 at the Litchfield Invitational on Oct. 7.
· Entering the race, Nova Classical Academy has the top-ranked spot as a team and individually. The St. Paul-based school is followed by No. 2 Perham, which has won the past three Class A crowns. Nova Classical Academy senior Finn McCormick has the fastest time in Class A this season with a 15:47.5 in the Section 4A championships on Oct. 26.
· Perham is favored to capture a girls championship for the third consecutive state meet. The Yellowjackets overtook St. Cloud Cathedral in the rankings on Oct. 25. Both are expected to duel for the team crown. Nevis sophomore Jade Rypkema, the Class A 3,200-meter champion last spring, is the top-ranked individual in the field. Murray County Central junior Amanda Overgaauw is ranked No. 2. She has the fastest time in Class A this season with a 17:41.27 recorded at the BOLD Invitational on Oct. 7.