It was a big transition from the first invitational to the second invitational for the East Ridge, Woodbury and Park boys and girls cross country teams.
The first course was flat and a fairly easy course to run, which helped the runners gain some confidence and understanding in the first race of the season. The second course, that was run on Thursday night, consisted of many hills and some terrain that became an adjustment for many of the runners throughout the early evening.
"We always come here each season and the course is always tough no matter the weather conditions," said Mike Moran, one of Park's head coaches. "It's a good course for the kids to run because it prepares them for upcoming races, especially in the later part of the season with sections and state."
The results were pretty consistent for both the East Ridge and Park boys and girls teams. The Raptors placed second behind Red Wing in both boys and girls varsity. The Wolfpack stayed in seventh place in both girls and boys varsity.
The Woodbury girls varsity team placed behind East Ridge at third place, while the boys varsity team finished fifth behind Central.
Chad Cronin, the boys coach for East Ridge, was happy with both the girls and boys teams for the Raptors. He was happy to see the girls take full control of second place as they were 23 points in front of Woodbury and only five points behind a dominant Red Wing team.
The East Ridge boys team had similar results as they were 37 points in front of third-place Eagan and 40 points behind Red Wing. That separation for second place was something Cronin and Joseph Reimann were looking for on Thursday evening.
"Our team made sure to stay in packs and run side-by-side," Reimann said. "Since they were able to stay together, it allowed for all of them to place in the same area, which gave us similar points and the second place finish."
Reimann hopes that the runners are able to keep that pace up for future meets because he believes the team's goal of making state is possible with that type of strategy.
Grant Wittman from Woodbury wasn't as happy with the fifth-place finish because he knew every runner didn't run their best in this race. He said that each runner probably ran 15 to 20 seconds slower than their personal record, which makes it hard to place higher in the standings.
He does know that both the boys and girls teams have learned from this race and understand how to run in tough conditions like hills and weather for future races down the road.
Tiffany Holliday, the top finisher for Woodbury girls team, was happy to just be running again after a knee injury stopped her for activities all summer. She was happy to get back onto the race path and enjoy running through the obstacles.
She said she was happy with finishing third overall in the race, but she was even happier to see the Royals team finishing third overall.
"Each day we continue to progress in the right direction," Holliday said. "It's fun to see what we're learning in practice be put into races because it helps us reach results like we did today."
Woodbury coach Mark Andrews said he was happy with the times from today, especially with the difficulty of the course. He hopes that each runner learned something they can utilize in future races.
Moran said he wouldn't be surprised if this was their slowest times of the year because this is the hardest course these runners will face all season. He was happy to see that some of the times improved from last week, even with the tough course, and it shows the kids are pushing themselves to achieve more.
This race also solidified the runners that will be participating in varsity meets throughout the season and specifically in the section meets. Moran said there's a gap between the eighth and ninth runners and the boys there's a gap between the ninth and tenth runners.
He's happy though with the performance that both the girls and the boys gave to this meet and he's hoping their confidence increases with each race they run in the season.
As for the next meet, Park will be running in the invitational at Anoka High School on Thursday, September 13. Woodbury will be participating in the invitational at Lakeville's Aronson Park on Saturday, September 15. East Ridge has a larger gap between races as the Raptors will join the Wolfpack in Milaca at the Stone Throw Golf Course on Saturday, September 22, for one of the bigger races of the season.
East Ridge girls
Team Score: 58 - 2nd overall
Halle Mestery - 2nd overall - 19:26.68
Gwyneth Gerlach - 6th overall - 20:33.57
Tatum Geving - 9th overall - 20:42.46
Kaele Ojeda - 16th overall - 21:02.93
Elizabeth Boerger - 25th overall - 21:57.11
East Ridge boys
Team Score: 66 - 2nd overall
Joseph Reimann - 4th overall - 16:33.98
John Faller - 12th overall - 17:03.08
Zach Getting - 13th overall - 17:07.43
Ryan Imse - 16th overall - 17:12.77
Daniel Koland - 21st overall - 17:30.19
Team Score: 81 - 3rd overall
Tiffany Holliday - 3rd overall - 20:13.45
Maggie McCarthy - 17th overall - 21:04.58
Anna Muellner - 18th overall - 21:22.19
Kelly McCarthy - 21st overall - 21:42.65
Abigail Parent - 22nd overall - 21:42.85
Team Score: 125 - 5th overall
Grant Wittman - 9th overall - 16:51.30
Aidan Browne - 10th overall - 16:56.67
Christopher Romain - 28th overall - 17:48.64
Chase Blodgett - 41st overall - 18:16.53
Joshua Baston - 43rd overall - 18:21.29
Team Score: 185 - 7th overall
Peyton Dunn - 24th overall - 21:48.93
Briahna Hensel - 32nd overall - 22:33.49
Laurel Watters - 41st overall - 23:37.17
Hope Thompson - 44th overall - 23:42.28
Tate Abrahamson - 48th overall - 23:53.98
Team Score: 219 - 7th overall
Parker Hahn - 25th overall - 17:39.99
Justus Robinson - 35th overall - 18:03.28
Peyton Klecatsky - 56th overall - 18:51.65
Mason Michaud - 61st overall - 19:00.00
Dale Kirsch - 66th overall - 19:13.19