PREP BOYS' CROSS COUNTRY: Redwood Valley, Luverne go 1-2 in close duel for boys’ team titleADRIAN — On a nearly perfect day for running, the Cardinals — Redwood Valley and Luverne — a pair of Southwest Conference foes, dueled each other in a highly-competitive Section 3A high school cross country meet at the Adrian Country Club late Thursday afternoon.
By: Les Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
ADRIAN — On a nearly perfect day for running, the Cardinals — Redwood Valley and Luverne — a pair of Southwest Conference foes, dueled each other in a highly-competitive Section 3A high school cross country meet at the Adrian Country Club late Thursday afternoon.
Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI junior Nick Stoks, the state’s No. 5-ranked Class A runner, convincingly won the individual title as he clocked a 5,000-meter time of 16 minutes and nine seconds — 62 seconds ahead of Redwood Valley’s Alex Amunrud, who emerged in second-place after pulling away from a whole pack of contenders.
The performance of Amunrud (17:11) along with solid runs by teammates Nick VonMosch (third, 17:16), Ryan Phillips (fifth, 17:25), Dillon Thooft (10th, 17:28) and Brett Olsen (16th, 17:56), gave Redwood a repeat team championship with a low score of 33 points (on team places 2-3-4-9-15).
Luverne — which displayed even better balance — also qualified for next week’s state meet (Nov. 5, Northfield) with an exceptional second-place score of 36 (5-6-7-8-10).
“All across the board, our guys ran great races,” praised LHS head coach Pete Janiszeski of Luverne’s stellar performance Thursday. “We were very close to winning and we had just an eight-second spread from 1-5, which is about as tight of a pack as you can get.”
The 19-team event turned out to be like a dual meet between the two Cardinals, as — after Stoks — the red-clad Redwood Valley runners and the white uniforms of Luverne dominated the front group of runners.
“We ran right with them,” Janiszeski said. “Redwood was able to get three guys ahead of our pack, but we had five in a row for awhile in front of their fourth. It was a great team race by both of us.”
C/M/LH was a distant third with 104 points, followed in the top 10 by Montevideo (116), Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin (136), Jackson County Central (177), Murray County Central (202), Pipestone Area (265), Yellow Medicine East (266) and Windom (272).
BOLD (316), Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (328), MACCRAY/Renville County West (331), Springfield/Cedar Mountain (344) and Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd (368) also had complete scores, while four others were incomplete.
Adrian’s Jase Pater moves up, places fourth, earning repeat state meet trip
Individually, Adrian senior Jase Pater ran another great race, repeating his state-meet qualification with a fourth-place individual finish, clocked at 17:18.6.
“I’m happy,” summed up the hard-working, tactics-smart Pater, who had a huge fan following — on the home course — carrying picture cutouts of their boys’ ace runner on a stick and cheering him on. “This is what I’ve worked for all year long.”
“Jase ran his typical smart race,” declared his coach John Olson. “He was in about 20th place at the mile mark, but I wasn’t concerned. I knew that he would move up and he did.
“By the two-mile mark, he was in 10th and looking very comfortable. In fact, he was smiling and you just knew that he was going to catch some more guys.”
Pater, who placed ninth at last year’s section meet (17:37), passed six more runners over the final 1,800 meters, breaking up the two packs of Cardinals and becoming the only individual qualifier from the area — other than Luverne’s top four, who will also be running at St. Olaf with their team.
Those four — Cody Hess (17:27.1), Nathan Stensland-Bos (17:27.8), Austin Stroeh (17:28.20) and Ryan Oye (17:28.2) — finished in overall places 6-9, respectively, spread by a mere 1.1 seconds — just ahead of Thooft (17:28.5).
Luverne’s fifth runner, Josh Friedrichsen, was right behind Thooft, clocked at 17:35.5 in 11th-place overall (10th team, as Pater’s score was discounted with Adrian being one of the incomplete teams).
“We had our fifth guy in the chute five places and 21 seconds ahead of Redwood’s,” summed up Janiszeski. “You can’t ask for much more than that. Our fourth runner was just ahead of their fourth, and we were close to their top three. So, we gave it everything we had and just came up a little bit short.”
Kocak, Solheim, Blomgren twins, Berg, Weitnegant place in top 20
JCC’s Ben Kocak ran a strong race, narrowly missing a state-meet trip, finishing 12th (17:45), while MCC’s Alex Solheim (17:48) and Adam Blomgren of ML/B-O (17:50) were right behind in 13th and 14th, respectively.
“Alex ran by far his best race of the season,” praised MCC head coach Dominick Damm about Solheim’s strong performance. “He went out hard and just kept up a nice pace all the way through.”
Kyle Blomgren (ML/B-O), Andrew Berg (PA) and Ryan Weitgenant (Hills-Beaver Creek/Ellsworth/Edgerton) each made the top 20, running times of 18:00, 18:10 and 18:11, respectively in overall places 17, 19 and 20.
ML/B-O’s Kyle Thiessen (21, 18:12) and Nathan Dukes (28, 18:24), Windom’s Clay Elness (30, 18:27), JCC’s John Isaacson (31, 18:28), MCC’s Devin Ryan (32, 18:28), Adrian’s Kody Henning (35, 18:32), PA’s Matt Hamersma (36, 18:33) and Luverne’s Drew Weis (37, 18:34) all finished in the top 40 among a total of 104 finishers.