East Ridge cross country: Roese races to All-State honorIn his final high school cross-country race, East Ridge senior Nate Roese went out on a high note.
By: Patrick Johnson, sports editor, South Washington County Bulletin
In his final high school cross-country race, East Ridge senior Nate Roese went out on a high note.
Already a state champion in the 400-yard dash, Roese proved to be one of the state’s better distance runners as well, earning an All-State honor in the Class AA state meet on Saturday, Nov. 3, at St. Olaf College in Northfield.
At state, the top 25 individual finishers earn the All-State designation. Roese took 17th place with a time of 15 minutes, 57.1 seconds in the 5-kilometer race.
“I was just happy I made it to state, that’s one thing, then making All-State, that was a big goal of mine all season,” Roese said. “It was tough race, but that’s the state meet for you. I was nervous. I didn’t want to choke. But, I just tried to clear my head and focus on the race, not if I do bad or good, just how I run. I was able to do that and I think I did great. I’m really happy.”
In 2010, Roese was the first boys cross country runner to earn a trip to the state meet, finishing in fifth place at the Section 4AA Championships as a sophomore. But last season Roese was hampered by an injury and fell one place fell just shy of State – taking 11 place overall.
This year, however, he returned to St. Olaf for one final cross country race.
“I usually make pretty high goals, but if I really focus on them and work hard I get them,” Roese said. “Looking back on this season I think I really deserve this. I sacrificed a lot. I’m happy I did all those things, because it paid off. I just want to thank my coaches, family and friends. I couldn’t have done this without them. I just want to thank everyone who helped me along the way. I’m really grateful.”
Last June, Roese came away with a state championship in the 400-meter dash and a fourth-place finish in the 200-meter dash at the 2012 Minnesota State High School League State Track and Field meet, earning All-State in both events. His time of 47.79 seconds in the 400 was within .2 seconds of tying the all-time state meet record of 47.59
Roese is one of just a few cross-country runners who have to switch from running sprints in the spring to distance in the fall. The majority of cross-country runners compete in the 1600 and 3200 meter races during the track season.
“The way he can transition is amazing,” East Ridge head coach Chad Cronin said. “He worked so hard this summer. In June he had to switch his mindset and his pace from being a 400 guy to running six miles. He handled it very well.”
Roese said it all comes down to hard work.
“It’s really just training,” he said. “Right after the state track meet I pretty much went right into running long distances. The first couple of weeks were pretty tough, because I was so used to sprinting. But, a month or two went by and I started to get into cross country state. It’s just hard work, good diet, focus and stretching.”
At state, Stillwater senior Wayde Hall won the individual state championship, his first, with a time of 15:21.0. Stillwater also claimed its second consecutive and fifth overall team title with all five scoring athletes finishing in the top 15 of team contenders. The Ponies scored 46 points to top Edina, which finished with 80 points.
In the race, Roese was roughly 30th at the 11 minute mark, then moved up to 25th with around 500 meters to go, before making his move and finishing 17th.
“A lot of guys will go out fast and try to stick with the frontrunners for as long as they can,” Roese said. “But I just try to go out in a decent place, stick around for the first mile, gain momentum and pass everyone the last mile.”
To earn his second trip to the state meet, Roese took fourth place overall in the Raptors’ Section 4AA championship meet with a time of 16:01.5.
“He was strong all year,” Cronin said. “Sometimes you can look at someone and just be confident they’re going to do well. He ran a smart race, just like he did at the section meet. It was a good day for him and we’re really happy for him. It was a huge meet.”