BOYS' STATE CROSS COUNTRY: Adrian edges JCC to finish eighth at state
NORTHFIELD -- All season long, Jackson County Central and Adrian have been the top two high school boys' cross country teams in the area. Saturday, both squads made good showings at the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL's) season-ending s...
NORTHFIELD -- All season long, Jackson County Central and Adrian have been the top two high school boys' cross country teams in the area.
Saturday, both squads made good showings at the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL's) season-ending state meet at St. Olaf College -- and each program brought home an individual All-State certificate.
But for the first time all season, Adrian -- which was running in the event for a fifth consecutive time -- defeated JCC and finished ahead of the Huskies in the team standings.
Paced by the lead run performance of senior Nate Reyne, who earned repeat All-State honors, the Dragons finished eighth with 225 points.
"We were really pleased with how our boys ran at the state meet," praised AHS head coach John Olson. "Each of them gave a great effort on the course and this was the first time all fall that we were able to outrun JCC."
JCC, meanwhile, was led by the All-State run of junior Justin Cook and the Huskies -- who finished 15th in 2008 -- improved to ninth Saturday with a score of 240.
In just the opposite swing from the Section 3A meet -- which was held at Adrian Oct. 29 -- the Dragons finished ahead of the Huskies at four of the five scoring positions, while finishing just six places behind JCC at the fifth-runner spot.
"We did kind of key on JCC," said AHS senior Jordan Pater, who has run on all five of Adrian's state meet teams. "In the section, they finished just ahead of us at all five places. But this time, we were able to turn things around."
JCC won the section meet with 49 points, while Adrian was second with a score of 62.
But Saturday, the Dragons scored with team places 7-23-43-69-83, while the Huskies' top five finished 9-33-45-76-77 in the team scoring.
Reyne, who finished 20th overall -- an improvement of three places from 2008 -- ran the 5,000-meter course in 17 minutes, 4.8 seconds.
Cook clocked a time of 17:11.2 and claimed the final All-State (top 25) award, leading JCC and improving 67 places from his 92nd-place finish a year ago.
"Justin had a remarkable season and for him to improve that many places at the state meet and earn an All-State certificate is quite an accomplishment," JCC co-head coach Brad Strom said Sunday night. "Team-wise, we improved six places from last year and battled right in the middle of the pack with the state's best."
Pater placed 47th overall (23rd team) among the field of 160 finishers, which had 112 team competitors, clocking a time of 17:28.3.
It was the final high school meet for the hard-working senior, who has put in over 2,800 miles in practice, weekend runs and meets during his six-year career.
"It's been fun and I've come a long ways since my first Dundee road race -- years ago," exclaimed Pater, who began running as a youngster with his dad, Darrin, the AHS assistant coach.
"Jordan was a great leader, who knows running and understands the approach that it takes to get better," praised Olson. "All of our seniors were great kids to work with and we will sure miss them next season."
Saturday, Adrian's top five were all seniors, as the trio of Ross Wieneke (80th overall, 43rd team, 17:54.1), Zach Runia (114, 69, 18:27.7) and Justin Feit (128, 83, 18:50.2) completed the scoring for the Dragons and allowed the program to notch its fifth consecutive upper half finish at the state meet.
Adrian was eighth in 2005, third in 2006, second in 2007 and fifth in 2008.
Sophomore Jase Pater (136, 88, 19:00,9) and junior Ethan Olson (145, 97, 19:10.0) completed the AHS line-up and will be looked to as leaders for the Dragons in 2010.
Kocak, Strom run third straight meet for JCC
JCC senior Matt Kocak was running up among the leaders early in the race, but the hard-working senior veteran rolled an ankle just before the mile mark and ran the rest of the race in pain.
"Matt was noticeably injured -- and it happened fairly early in the race," noted Coach Strom. "There's no doubt that he was hampered by that, but he still finished as our second guy."
Kocak, who was running in his third straight state meet (he qualified individually in 2007), finished 67th overall (33rd teamwise), clocked at 17:41.0.
Marc Strom, a junior, was JCC's third finisher Saturday, covering the distance in 17:56.2 and placing 82nd overall (45, team).
Wieneke, who had a strong finish, outkicked Strom -- who was also running in his third consecutive state meet, after qualifying individually in 2007 -- after the runners scaled the final hill.
"I thought that I had a good finish," said Wieneke, who was running at his first state meet and appreciated the weather conditions Saturday. "I liked the warmth. I got a little thirsty, but it's nice running when it's not so cold."
The temperature was at 60 degrees during the race Saturday -- a stark contrast to many of the 35-45 degree days that the runners endured during nearly all of October.
JCC's fourth and fifth runners were seniors Jon Troe (121, 76, 18:39.1) and Sam Hendrickson (122, 77, 18:41.9), while sophomore Ben Kocak (146, 98, 19:12.5) and freshman Jordan Snyder (160, 112, 20:58.6) completed the JCC line-up.
"We look at our season in its entirety," concluded Coach Strom. "We don't define our success by just this meet. We had a tremendous overall season and ran well against all kinds of competition and achieved our goal of getting the whole team back to the state meet."
JCC finished five places and 37 points ahead of Fairmont, a team that had defeated the Huskies at the I-90 Invitational at Fairmont Oct. 8.
Plainview-Elgin-Millville edged Perham, 100-102, for the team title, while St. Cloud Cathedral was a close third with 110 points.
Minnehaha Academy was fourth with 147 points, followed by Long Prairie-Grey Eagle (173), Waseca (176) and Holy Family Catholic (223).
Adrian finished two points from seventh-place, while JCC finished 17 points ahead of 10th place Eveleth-Gilbert (257).
Albany (259), Esko (260), Staples-Motley (268), Fairmont (277), Mora (318) and Winona Cotter (338) completed the 16-team field.