Park cross country: 35 personal bests at conference meet for 'PackFaced with tough conference opponents, Park cross country runners earned 35 personal bests, but finished behind other teams at the Suburban East Conference Meet on October 18. Out of 10 teams, Park boys came in 10th and girls finished ninth, beating Cretin-Derham Hall.
By: Teresa Townsend, South Washington County Bulletin
Faced with tough conference opponents, Park cross country runners earned 35 personal bests, but finished behind other teams at the Suburban East Conference Meet on October 18. Out of 10 teams, Park boys came in 10th and girls finished ninth, beating Cretin-Derham Hall.
“We had a very good day,” said Park coach Mike Moran, adding that runners Bailey Aasen and Cameron Anderson received Honorable Mention All Conference. Aasen placed 26th with a time of 15:18, and Anderson placed 28th at 15:23. Regardless of its placement, the team reached peak performance for the conference meet.
“We had two girls [finish in] under sixteen [minutes] and two girls in the middle 16,” Moran said.
This year’s runners are some of the best Park has seen, according to Moran. Of the over 4,000 girls that have run for Park cross country since Moran began coaching, “Our top four girls are all on our top 15 list. Bailey is now number eight, Cameron is number nine, and Larissa [Lurken] was already on the list. Rebekah Schulte is now 15th”
In the boys race, Evan Bonneson finished first for Park’s boys and 47th overall with a time of 17:08.
“He became the 15th fastest boy we ever had,” Moran said.
After a season of preparation, Moran was pleased by the results.
“That was the best of the year,” he said. “That was what I would kind of expect. The whole point is to be ready for that race. Usually 75 percent of the team gets a personal best at that race by design.”
Although the record-breaking times achieved by Park runners were not enough to beat conference teams, Moran looks forward to the section meet this Wednesday where they will face entirely different competition.
“We have such a good conference and I don’t want them to get disappointed,” he said. “There are other conferences where we’d be right up at the top.
Wednesday’s race at the University of Minnesota, which could be their last for the season, comes at the end of a steady stream of personal bests; however, the teams will have to overcome the uncertainty presented by an unfamiliar course.
“It’s the first and only time we’re going to run there,” Moran said. “I’m not sure if [the course] is the absolute most important thing, but it’s close. The course we run for the conference meet is really fast and everybody knows it. It is a flat, fast course.”
A new course will make gauging pace difficult for Park’s runners, but it’s a challenge they have faced before.
“This is our second time this year running a new course,” Moran said. “I try to diffuse that a little bit. Kids get worried about where they’re going and all of that . . . You know, just run with everybody else. In my brain you’re there to race. The course is meaningless. It really doesn’t matter what the course looks like because everybody is doing it.
The section meet decides who continues onto the state meet. It takes place this afternoon (Wednesday, Oct. 26) at the University of Minnesota golf course. The boys run at 2:15 p.m., and the girls run at 3:15 p.m.
See additional photos in the Oct. 26 issue of the Bulletin