Cross country: Ness, Betz finish in top 10 at Milaca Mega MeetLocal cross country teams from East Ridge, Woodbury and Park all competed in the prestigious Milaca Mega Meet last week.
By: Patrick Johnson, sports editor, South Washington County Bulletin
Local cross country teams from East Ridge, Woodbury and Park all competed in the prestigious Milaca Mega Meet last week. In its 42nd year, the Mega Meet draws a number of the state’s top running teams to the Milaca Golf Club.
Last year, the East Ridge girls won the meet – topping Andover and Prior Lake. However, this year, the Raptors couldn’t defend their title as No. 2-ranked Wayzata took the crown. East Ridge, ranked third in Class AA, finished in second place in the 28-team meet with 98 points. Wayzata had 75 points. The Raptors did finish well ahead of Suburban East Conference and section rival Roseville, however. The Raiders were fourth with 165 points.
East Ridge’s Bailey Ness and Emily Betz led the way for the Raptors. Ness, a junior, finished in fifth place overall with a time of 14 minutes, 40 seconds in the 4k race. Betz, a sophomore, was just two spots back of Ness, taking seventh place with a time of 14:47. East Ridge senior Taylor Jackson finished in 24th place (15:14), eighth grader Megan Schiferl was 30th (15:26) and senior Liz Maata took 32nd (15:33) to round out the Raptors’ top five. Bemidji sophomore Jenna Truedson won the race with a time of 14:07.
Woodbury finished 17th as a team in the race, while Park came in 19th place. Seventh grader Haley Orf led the way for Woodbury with a time of 16:04, taking 57th place overall. Sophomores Divya Melachuri (16:14) and Catherine Henning (16:31) took 64th and 88th overall, respectively, crossing the line second and third for Woodbury. Senior Ainslee Neu (16:41) and freshman Kathleen Danielson (17:17) took 96th and 125th, respectively, to round out the Royals top five finishers.
Freshman Cameron Anderson led the way for Park, taking 52nd place with a time of 15:58. Not too far back was sophomore Rebekah Schulte, who ran a time of 16:39 to take 95th place. Sophomore Bailey Aasen (16:56), freshman Taylor Rumpca (17:02) and senior Brooke Anderson (17:02), rounded out the Wolfpack’s top five, taking 116th, 118th and 119th, respectively.
In the boys 5K race, Stillwater earned the top spot with three runners in the top seven and just 37 place points. Ponies’ senior Wayde Hall won the race in a time of 15:25.
East Ridge was the top District 833 team, taking 13th place out of 26 teams with 389 place points. Woodbury (424) earned 15th and Park (647) was 23rd.
Senior Nate Roese led the way for East Ridge, taking 11th place overall with a time of 16:17. Three juniors followed Roese across the finish line as Ryan Shiferl took 57th (17:27), Aaron Gorden earned 92nd (17:52) and Sam Scholz took 108th (18:03). Freshman Jack Walter earned 121nd with a time of 18:12 to round out the Raptors’ top five.
For Woodbury, junior Taylor Voit set the pace, taking 21st place with a time of 16:45. Nicholas Wareham, a sophomore, was the second Royals runner across the finish line, taking 38th place with a time of 17:02. Senior Matt Waterhouse (18:05) took 110th, and sophomores Paul Henning (18:07) and Eric Shumaker (18:27) took 116th and 139th, respectively, to round out the Royals top five runners.
Junior Evan Bonneson led the way for Park, taking 62nd place with a time of 17:29, followed by senior Cade Fishbaugher, who earned 125th place with his time of 18:16. Sophomore Ryan Tolkinen (18:31) and juniors Kyle Mohr (18:53.8) and Sully Brenke (19:30) rounded out the Wolfpack’s top five in 143rd, 154th and 163rd, respectively.
This Friday, East Ridge, Park and Woodbury all compete in the Red Wing Invitational. The races begin at 4 p.m. at Red Wing High School.