Andover’s Steven Cotter set a new school record in the 5,000 meter race on Sept. 14 with the boys’ cross country team at Lakeville’s Apple Jack Invitational.
He nearly won the 21-team race with a time of 15 minutes, 52.4 seconds. He was faster than 140 runners, but 1.4 seconds behind the winner Obsa Ali from Richfield.
Cotter raced out with the top three at the start of the race and he was in the lead for several strides midway through.
“I looked behind me and saw a shadow after I heard (Ali) breathing,” Cotter said. “It made me weaker, I guess. He had so much left in him at the end. I just wanted to win. In my head I thought hopefully colleges are watching.”
In the final stretch Ali broke through to win the race with Cotter in second.
Cotter was hoping for a solid performance after finishing 25th at the St. Cloud Apollo Early Bird meet a few weeks ago with a time of 17:13.
“I’ve had a lot of bad races before this, so it felt really good to take second,” Cotter said of his finish in a much bigger field in Lakeville. “I was hydrated and eating the right food. I think that’s what helped.”
After placing 10th at the Class AA meet last season, he spent the offseason training and working on his mental game.
“I like to be behind and my mental strategy is to look for weaknesses and break them,” he said. “If I see a weakness, even if I’m dead tired, I sprint ahead of them. I look for guys leaning forward, heavy breathing or maybe moving of the shoulders. Hills are the perfect place.”
When he put it all together, it turns out he can run a 5K in less than 16 minutes. His goal now is to break into 15:45 by season’s end.
Cotter outran several other top Minnesota runners including Ahmed Bule from St. Paul Central, Trevor Capra from Rosemount and Jared Bartz from White Bear Lake.
As a team the Andover boys finished 10th, but they were without one of their top runners Chris Meados, who was sick. Simon Toronto placed 68th, Eric Larson 71st, Alec Lorimer 72nd, Lucas Olson 83rd, John Pahr 120th and Grant Wood 131st.
The Andover girls’ team finished 12th as a team at the Apple Jack Invitational. Madeline McKeefry was the first Huskie across the finish line again placing 21st.
Nearly a minute later Jane Schmitz (72nd) and Michelle Holms (74th) finished. Amanda Jensen placed 86th, Katie Breuckman was 107th and Katelyn McEnelly 127th.
Coon Rapids boys fifth
The Cardinal boys’ cross country team relied on its depth to place fifth at the Apple Jack Invitational. The boys finished ahead of St. Paul Central, Woodbury and Lakeville South, but a few spots behind Centennial, Minnetonka, White Bear Lake and Rosemount.
Jackson Bednar was the first Coon Rapids runner across, placing 15th with David Dujmovic close behind at 18th. Michael Coughlin was 29th, Stephen Coughlin 49th, Nathan Herman 59th, Kyle Mehrhof 60th and Ryan Elias 124th.
Andy Rogers is at firstname.lastname@example.org