After dealing with the heat just before the season was set to begin, area cross country teams found plenty of early season competition.
Andover and Blaine competed at the Bluejacket Invite at Isanti Middle School Sept. 5.
Andover senior Chris Meados led the boys around the 5k course in a winning time of 16:56.2 ahead Mounds View senior Andre Hessini’s time of 16:57.9.
Meados’ performance helped the team place third with 75 points, seven points behind runner-up Centennial and 45 points behind champion Mounds View.
The Mustangs had seven runners among the top 14 spots.
Huskies sophomore Alec Lorimer placed 12th followed by senior Simeon Toronto 17th, junior Nathan Engstrom 22nd and sophomore Lucas Olson 23rd.
Blaine boys placed seventh in the field of nine teams with 198 points. Junior Peter Caron led the team in 26th place with 18:35.5 and junior Ryan Morff followed in 33rd place.
Bengals eighth-grader Ben Olson won the junior varsity race in 17:50, which would have been good for a 13th-place finish in the varsity run. Instead, he won the junior varsity race by 34.4 seconds.
Andover girls were second behind a dominant Forest Lake team that placed five runners among the top nine overall and swept the top two spots.
Andover was led by senior Maddie McKeefry, who was third in 15:45.1 followed by junior teammate Jane Schmitz in seventh, sophomore Katheryn Breuckman 13th, freshman Alysse DeFoe 21st and sophomore Maddie Walker 27th.
Blaine finished last in the field of eight teams with 207 points, while the Bluejackets were seventh with 164 points.
Blaine was led by a trio of seniors including Emma Cherney in 38th place, Rachel Helin 40th and Katie Sibbet 41st. Sophomore Abbey Durand was 43rd, Kirsten Ziegler 45th and sophomore Hannah Habermann 49th.
Meados opens the season ranked 10th in the first state coaches poll, released Sept. 2.
The Tornadoes hosted the season-opening Academy of Holy Angels Invite on the course next to Anoka High School Aug. 24.
Anoka boys finished second in the nine-team field, three points behind champion St. Anthony Village, and was led by three runners among the top 10. Senior Jeff Barstow was fourth in 10:12.1 with junior Mark Leonard eighth in 10:48.6 and senior Brian Kraemer 10th in 10:49.3. Sophomore Harrison Redepenning was 17th and senior Christian Tanner 20th.
Cretin-Derham Hall senior Jacob McDermott won the 5,000-meter race in 9:38.01.
Anoka girls took the seven-team race by 21 points over Holy Angels as the top three Tornadoes finished among the top seven individuals.
Seniors Lexi Fritz and Lindsey Gast placed third (11:42.6) and sixth (12:11.8), respectively, and freshman Isabelle Brezinka was seventh in 12:32.7. Classmate Maris Kalkman was 18th in 13:23.8 and junior Sarone Paulzine 22nd in 13:38.1.
As for the junior varsity, Anoka girls were second behind St. Anthony Village. Eighth-graders Sydney Paulson, Noelle Josephson and Taylor Krone all finished among the top eight, led by Paulson’s second place in 12:46.1. Josephson was fifth and Krone eighth.
The Tornadoes traveled to the River Falls Extreme Meet Aug. 29. The boys and girls both placed fourth in the team race among 12 and 14 teams, respectively.
Coon Rapids and Anoka took part in the meet run in Otsego, Sept. 6. The Cardinals placed fifth and Tornadoes were eighth out of 11 teams.
Coon Rapids senior Jackson Bednar led the way in eighth and teammate David Dujmovic was 14th.
Barstow led Anoka with a 17th-place finish.
Anoka girls was fourth in the field of 10 teams led by a 10th-place finish by Fritz and 17th place by Gast.
The girls opened the season with a ninth-place finish at the St. Olaf Showcase in Northfield Aug. 30. Coon Rapids scored 271 points, one point behind Holy Family and three points behind seventh-place Maple Grove. Freshman Bryna DelCastillo led the red-and-white with a 23rd-place finish and was the fifth freshman to cross the finish line in 16:13.8.
Jason Olson is at