Cross Country: East Ridge, Math and Science send teams and runners to state meet
It was a big day for the East Ridge Raptors and the Math and Science Academy Dragons as both schools sent individual runners as well as teams to the state meet next Saturday.
East Ridge and Park competed in the section 3AA cross country meet on Thursday at Valleywood Golf Course in Apple Valley, while Math and Science Academy competed in the section 4A cross country meet at Battle Creek Regional Park in Maplewood.
"I'm so proud of all the runners," said East Ridge co-head coach Chad Cronin. "These runners have been working hard since the beginning of the summer. They've pushed themselves to be the best they can be and that's what they showed today on the course."
That hard work and dedication throughout the season paid off for the Raptors as the East Ridge boys team placed second at the section meet, which means they're automatically qualified as a team to advance to the state meet. This was the first time in the program's history that the boys team advanced as a whole team.
The East Ridge girls team was hoping to get back to state once again, but missed the team qualification by three points behind Prior Lake as the Lakers finished with 104 points and the Raptors finished with 107 points.
Even though the team didn't make it, the Raptors will have freshman Halle Mestery and junior Gwyneth Gerlach representing the girls side for the state meet as both qualified individually.
"It'll be fun having another teammate to run alongside during the day at state," Mestery said. "I'm excited for the state meet."
East Ridge wasn't the only team to be sending runners to the state meet as Math and Science Academy were able to send one boy and two girls from the section meet.
The Dragons had some excellent runs as a team, which made head coach Brendan Ruter happy to see at the end of the season. He said he couldn't have been more proud of how the team ran on Thursday.
Math and Science Academy didn't have either team advance to state as a whole, but the team did have individual runners advance. On the boys side, junior Harris Anderson finished third overall with a time of 16:44.80 to head to the state meet for a third time in his running career.
On the girls side, sophomore Tierney Wolfgram and eighth grader Greta Hansen will be heading to the state meet together. Wolfgram finished first at sections with a time of 17:29.60 and Hansen finished sixth with a time of 19:50.60.
Ruter said Hansen ran a lifetime personal record by 15 seconds, so he's hoping that confidence and momentum will carry into the state meet. Wolfgram will be going to state for a fourth time, while Hansen will be at state for a second time.
Wolfgram won the state meet last season and will be looking to win it again this year. Anderson was looking forward to this meet since he's been out of running for the last month due to a quad and knee injury. All three of them were excited to get back to the state meet and represent Math and Science Academy.
"All three of these runners are competitive and with their experience from previous state meets, it'll be a fun race to watch," Ruter said. "It's always exciting as a coach to watch them reach these achievements throughout the season."
Even though Park didn't have any runners advance to the state meet, coaches Brad Narveson and Mike Moran are incredibly proud of the team.
Parker Hahn and Justus Robinson finished in the top 40 on the boys side, while many of the girls finished the section meet with personal records.
The Park coaches are excited about the future of the program as many of the runners will be returning for the 2019 season. They hope to continue building the runners and the program in the upcoming future.
The state meet will take place at St. Olaf College on Saturday, Nov. 3. The races will be spaced out throughout the day with Class AA running in the morning and Class A running in the afternoon.
The Class AA boys will run at 10 a.m., while the Class AA girls will run at 11 a.m.
After a small break around lunch time, the Class A boys will run at 1 p.m. and the Class A girls will finish the day with a race at 2 p.m.
"We're really excited to compete at the state meet, especially as a team," said East Ridge's Joseph Reimann. "It'll be a great day with the best teams and runners in the state."