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East Ridge cross country: Ness, Raptors girls start season with win at St. Olaf

For the past four seasons, the East Ridge girls cross country team has been on an upward trajectory.

In its first meet this year, the Raptors picked up right where they left off. 

To kick off 2013, the East Ridge girls took first place out of 26 teams at the season-opening St. Olaf High School Showcase on Aug. 30 at St. Olaf College in Northfield, winning the meet for the second-straight year.

The East Ridge girls cross country team has qualified for the state meet the past three straight seasons. The Raptors have been the Suburban East Conference champion the last three years, the Section 4AA champion in 2010 and 2012 and the Section 4AA runner-up in 2011. East Ridge finished fifth in the state last year, sixth in the state in 2012 and in eighth place in 2011.

In Friday’s race, out of 520 girls, East Ridge’s top five runners all finished in the top 26 overall as the Raptors totaled just 70 place points and a time of 1 hour, 18 minutes and 54 seconds in the 4-kilometer race to take first place. With 79 points, Chanhassen took second place. Suburban East Conference foe Mounds View was a distant third with 193 points.

East Ridge senior Bailey Ness led the way for the Raptors in the win. The All-State runner won the race with a time of 14 minutes, 52.4 seconds. Ness finished second in last year’s meet to Shakopee 2012 grad Maria Hauger.

After Ness, East Ridge junior Emily Betz had the Raptors’ second-best time, finishing in fifth place overall with a time of 15:32.5. To round out the Raptors top five, junior Brenley Goertzen placed 17th (15:55.0), senior Sandra Gramer earned 21st (16:11.0) and sophomore Elissa McMaster edged fellow Raptors’ sophomore Olivia Hummel for 26th place. McMaster ran a time of 16:23.1 and Hummel ran a 16:25.7. 

In the boys race, East Ridge took ninth place out of 27 teams – a vast improvement from its 23rd place finish a year ago. East Ridge totaled 256 place points and a time of 1:31:18.2 in the 5-kilometer run. 

Leading the way for the Raptors boys was a pack of four seniors, led by Aaron Gorden, who took 24th place with a time of 17:44.9. Senior Ryan Schiferl was the second East Ridge runner across the finish line in a time of 17:58.6, which was good for 34th. Taylor Huffman and David Huffman took 58th and 67th, respectively, with times of 18:25.5 and 18:33.7 and sophomore Tony Cauthorn rounded out East Ridge’s top five, taking 73rd with a time of 18:35.5. 

Chanhassen won the boys race with 147 points and a time of 1:29:06.4. Cretin-Derham Hall’s Jacob McDermott was the first runner across the finish line in a time of 16:32.5. 

Next, East Ridge runs an invitational at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park in Hastings on Thursday. 

—Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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