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Senior Nate Roese returns to the East Ridge lineup for one final cross country season. Roese was a state champion last spring in the 400-meter dash.

2012 Fall Preview: Roese returns to East Ridge boys cross country team fresh off state title

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There aren't many teams around the state that has a state champion in their lineup. But East Ridge does.

East Ridge senior Nate Roese returns to the Raptors cross country team fresh off a gold medal performance in the 400-meter dash in last spring's state track meet. Last fall, Roese - who was the first male runner to earn a trip to the state cross country meet in 2010 - came up one place shy of state, taking 11th place overall at the Section 4AA Championships. In the 5K race, Roese was battling an injury that held him out of the Suburban East Conference championships two weeks before. However, Roese's time was actually a hair better than his state-qualifying time the year before. It was the second time Roese came one place away from state. As a freshman he took 11th place overall as well.

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"Nate has been a state runner before and is looking to return after a great track season," East Ridge fourth-year head coach Chad Cronin said. "He has led the team every year since the school opened."

In addition to Roese, also returning to the East Ridge lineup are a trio of juniors - Ryan Schiferl, Roman Faller and Nate Tigges - who were the Raptors' second, third and fourth top finishers, respectively, at last year's section meet. Schiferl was an All-Conference honorable mention runner in the Suburban East Conference for East Ridge as a sophomore. The team will need to replace one of its top runners, however, in 2012 graduate Tom Dierberger. Dierberger had the Raptors' fifth-best time at the section meet.

"There are many younger runners stepping up," Cronin said. "This is the most prepared the boys team has been entering the season. We are looking forward to, and expecting, this year as being the best in our team's short history."

Perennial juggernaut Stillwater is expected to be the team to beat once again in the Suburban East Conference and in the section.

East Ridge starts its 2012 season on Friday, Aug. 31 at St. Olaf College.

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