PREP BOYS' CROSS COUNTRY: Musa leads in Class AA raceNORTHFIELD — Running in his fifth straight high school state cross country meet Saturday morning, Worthington senior Mubarik Musa wasted little time assuming the lead in the 157-runner Class AA boys’ race at St. Olaf College.
By: Les Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
NORTHFIELD — Running in his fifth straight high school state cross country meet Saturday morning, Worthington senior Mubarik Musa wasted little time assuming the lead in the 157-runner Class AA boys’ race at St. Olaf College.
Musa, who won the 2009 Class A state title as a sophomore and placed third last year as a junior, was back in Class AA this year, as Worthington was moved up from A to AA.
Musa had previously raced in the larger-school event in both 2007 and 2008 as an eighth-grader and freshman, respectively, at Park Center High School.
With a mix of experience, endurance and speed, Musa raced to the head of the pack — and stayed there for more than 3,200 meters of the 5,000-meter race.
But after running with the leaders, the fast pace of the grueling race took its toll on the WHS star — who has thrilled area cross country and track fans with his brilliant performances — as lots of runners caught and passed him in the final mile.
Musa finished 30th, clocked at 16 minutes, 16.2 seconds — a time which would have placed him sixth in the Class A race.
“I went out quick and immediately took the lead,” explained Musa about his race plan. “My aim was to win the race, that’s what I try to do.
“The best guys caught me, and I stayed with them. I was right there at the front with the leaders all the way through the first two miles.
“I hit the first mile at about 4:50 and was like 9:58 at the second. But going up through the woods on the last mile was hard, my legs went numb and I didn’t have enough left to keep the pace.”
“Mubarik did what he always does,” summed up WHS head coach Ken Henkels. “He went out with the intention of winning. He could have gone out slower, paced himself better and maybe gotten a top-10 finish. But his goal was to win, that’s why he went out and ran with the top guys.”
Wayzata senior Josh Thorson — Class AA’s No. 1-ranked runner — won the race by nearly 10 seconds, clocked at 15:29.9.
Rochester Mayo senior Riley Macon (15:39.5) nipped Dassel-Cokato senior Troy Koivisto (15:40.1) for second.
Marshall’s Grant VanKeulun finished 43rd with a time of 16:29.4 and teammate Andrew Bell (82nd, 16:52.1) also ran the course under 17 minutes, leading the Tigers to a 13th-place team finish in the highly-competitive meet.
“You look at where Marshall’s top two runners finished and you realize just how competitive that AA field was,” noted Henkels. “There were some great runners in the race and Mubarik was right with the leaders for more than two miles.”
“It didn’t turn out to be an exciting day for me,” Musa concluded. “But, I was lucky enough to get there and race five times. What more can I say, I have no regrets. The competition was very tough.
“I did my best and the whole experience of getting to race at that level is something that I hold very dear. It’s something I will always remember and cherish.”
Musa placed eighth in Class AA as a freshman in 2008, after finishing 63rd as an eighth-grader in his inaugural state-meet run in 2007.
Hess, Stensland-Bos, Friedrichsen lead LHS
Luverne’s well-balanced boys’ team, which came within three points of winning the Section 3A title at Adrian Oct. 27, received solid lead-run performances Saturday afternoon from sophomore Cody Hess, senior Nathan Stensland-Bos and junior Josh Friedrichsen, as each of the Cardinal trio ran the course well under 18 minutes.
Hess, who has been Luverne’s lead runner several times this season, was the area’s top finisher — and the third from all of Section 3 — in the Class A boys’ race at St. Olaf.
Hess finished 54th overall, ahead of 96 runners, with a time of 17:22.2.
Teamwise, Hess scored 29 points for Luverne, which finished 14th in the team standings with 282 points on finish places 29-49-51-70-83.
St. Cloud Cathedral edged defending state champion Perham by a mere point, 72-73, for the team title.
Section 3A champion Redwood Valley, led by Alex Amundrud (46th overall, 23rd in team scoring, 17:15.6), finished eighth in the team standings with 238 points.
Martin County West (277) finished just five points ahead of Luverne in 13th, while Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (297) and Winona Cotter (304) were behind the Cardinals.
“We weren’t able to pack together like we so often have,” summed up Luverne head coach Pete Janiszeski about the Cardinals’ team performance Saturday. “It’s a different atmosphere up here with so many runners.”
Janiszeski was real pleased with Hess, who beat three runners who finished ahead of him in the section meet.
“Cody ran a good race,” the coach said. “He ran smart and progressively moved up, just putting together a real solid race.”
Stensland-Bos held the second-runner position for LHS throughout the race and finished 81st overall (49th team scoring) with a time of 17:38.0, while Friedrichsen had an exceptional finishing kick and entered the chute just two places later (83, 51, 17:39.8).
“Nathan has been steady all season,” praised Janiszeski. “Josh has the best leg speed on the team and really turned it on at the end, catching lots of guys with a great finish kick.”
For Stensland-Bos, who is involved in speech in the winter and plays tennis in the spring, his last high school cross country race was satisfying.
“It’s a totally different situation up here,” he said about his first state-meet run. “It was a pretty good day for me. I passed a few guys on the last big hill back in the woods.
“We had a great season and Coach Janiszeski is the reason we had as much success as we did. We had a great bunch of guys and this has really been a fun experience.”
Seniors Ryan Oye (107, 70, 18:03.2) and Austin Stroeh (120, 83, 18:23.8) completed the scoring for Luverne, while freshman Drew Weis (140, 102, 19:16.6) and junior Scott Nelson (143, 105, 19:33.0) rounded out the Cardinal lineup.
“Our three seniors — Nathan, Ryan and Austin — had nice careers for us,” summed up Janiszeski. ‘They were great leaders, tremendous role models and just did everything I asked of them. I am going to miss them.”
Pater caps stellar career for Adrian Saturday
Adrian’s Jase Pater, who finished fourth in the Section 3A meet to qualify individually for a second state meet run, after having competed with an Adrian team in both 2008 and 2009, capped an outstanding career for the Dragons Saturday.
Pater finished right behind Friedrichsen, clocked at 17:40, while placing 84th overall.
“It didn’t go as well as I hoped,” exclaimed Pater as he made his way back to the field house following his last high school cross country race. “Every time I thought I was gaining ground, they just fought me back. It was hard to move up places.”
Still, Pater — a two-time Red Rock Conference champion — looked back on his career with a smile.
“I had a lot of good races and a whole bunch of great times,” he concluded. “Cross country has been a blast and I know I will miss running for Adrian.”