ABC Newspapers-area runners took to the trails Oct. 25 with hopes of qualifying for the Nov. 3 state meet. Section 5AA ran at Anoka High School while Section 7AA ran at Cloquet.
Coon Rapids boys’ and girls’ cross country turned in great team-wide races at the Section 5AA meet Thursday afternoon at Anoka High School.
Anoka’s Alexis Fritz and Spring Lake Park’s Jake Ajax each qualified for the state meet with strong performances. Ajax, a second-year cross country runner finished 10th overall in 16:34 while the team placed 13th among the 15 teams.
Fritz finished eighth overall in 15:23.7, edging Centennial’s Megan Kienholz by 0.4 of a second.
The Cardinal girls finished third, four points behind runner-up Mounds View (94-98) for the second state-qualifying spot. Totino-Grace won the meet as three runners finished inside the top 17 positions.
Meanwhile the boys garnered fourth place, nine points behind third-place Maple Grove as Centennial won the team title with five runners inside the top 15 places. Mounds View was runner-up with 90 points.
Coon Rapids girls had its entire team of seven runners finish inside the top 32 places with a meet-best 30 seconds spread between the runners. Senior Paige D’Heilly paced the Cardinals and finished one spot outside of the state meet in 13th place at 15:30.5 and classmate Anna Nelson missed out on a state spot by three spots with a 15th place finish in 15:32.3.
Sophomore Elise Weimholt finished 19th in 15:41.5 and senior Samantha Dills was 25th in 15:56.8. Eighth-grader Bryna Delcastillo placed 26th in 16:01.1.
The future of the team seems very bright as the junior varsity team won its meet with 52 points.
Anoka tied Osseo for eighth place with 215 points as the Tornadoes were led by a trio of juniors. Fritz was followed by Lindsey Gast 22nd in 15:44.4 and Heather Jensen was 59th in 16:58.4.
Spring Lake Park’s young squad finished 14th as ninth-grader Gaby Fey placed 66th overall to lead the team.
Blaine finished at the bottom of the team standings with 427 points. Junior Emma Cherney led the team with a 77th place finish in 17:46.7.
Coon Rapids boys were guided by a pair of juniors who finished in the top 17 places. Jackson Bednar led the team with an 11th place finish followed by David Dujmovic in 17th place.
Anoka placed 10th, two points behind Irondale as the Tornadoes were led by senior Thomas Hagerty’s 49th place finish in 17:40.1.
A young Blaine team finished 11th in the field of 15 teams, led by junior Oliver Houghtling who finished 37th overall and junior Eric Hiel in 48th place.
Andover senior Nicole Heitzman won the Section 7AA title in 15:01, nearly five seconds ahead of the runner-up, while junior teammate Maddie McKeefry placed ninth to also earn another trip to the state meet with a time of 15:26.4.
The pair helped the Huskies finish fourth in the team race with 122 points, nine points out of third place and 31 points from second place Elk River. Andover sophomore Jane Schmitz garnered 22nd place overall in 16:16.5 to help keep the team score low on the Cloquet course.
St. Francis finished 11th as a team, led by sophomore Emma Eastman, who placed 42nd overall in 16:42.
Andover’s Steven Cotter and Chris Meados finished second and third, respectively, in the Section 7AA meet at Cloquet to qualify for the state meet.
Cotter was edged out of the section individual title by Forest Lake’s Jacob Jankowski by two-tenths of a second (15:56.3 to 15:56.5), while Meados finished in 16:20 for third place. The Huskies finished sixth as a team as the third position runner finished 41st overall. St. Francis was eighth among the 16 team-field, but junior Grant Olson finished 14th, three spots and seven seconds away from a state tournament showing.
Jason Olson is at [email protected]