The Rosemount varsity boys and girls cross country teams find themselves in very similar situations through the first couple meets of the season.

Both teams have a surplus of runners capable of finishing in the front half of the pack, and that strong depth has helped put both Irish squads in the top half of the team standings in their first two meets, as well. For both Irish squads to make the jump to conference and section title contenders, however, it will take some of those middle-of-the-pack runners making the jump to the lead pack over the next month.

“We need to keep working hard and prepare for the later stages of the season. So far, we have developed depth, but we need a few guys to step up further and give us some low cards up front,” coach Chris Harder said of his boys team. “(The girls have) strong depth this season, but similar to the guys they need to have a few step up further and give us some low cards for us to reach our team goals this season.”

The Irish finished sixth out of 19 teams at Saturday’s Applejack Invitational in Lakeville with 165 points. They were the only team in the top 10 without a runner in the top 20.

Senior Zafffer Hussein led the balanced attack with a 24th-place time of 17 minutes, 15 seconds on the 5,000-meter Aronson Park course. Teammates Travis Lorch (17:22) and Jonathan Meaden (17:23) were close behind in 28th and 29th, respectively.

Spencer Schultz served as Rosemount’s No. 4 runner with a 41st-place time of 17:35 and Caden Hill gave the Irish a 1-through-5 spread of just 21 seconds with a 43rd-place 17:36.

Luke Labatte (55th, 17:43) and Tanner Wenzel (90th, 18:21) rounded out the varsity lineup.

“Overall a solid team race for our first 5k of the season. I think we could move more a little earlier, but we had a decent team effort,” Harder said. “We don’t have a lot of scoring experience at the varsity level, but this team is working hard together and will continue to surprise people as the season progresses.”

Lakeville North defeated runner-up Minnetonka 83-132 for the boys team title.

In the girls’ race, the Irish once again placed five runners in the top half of the field en route to an eighth-place total of 217 points. Edina easily won the team championship with 42 points.

Sophomore Tess Grunklee led a young Rosemount lineup with a 26th-place time of 20:36 in her first 5K race of the season. Teammate Sidney Preator, an eighth, was right behind in 27th place with a 20:37 clocking.

Sophomore Dani Follett-Dion followed in 45th place and senior Naomi Alvarez was 48th in 21:16. Sophomores Sydney Regalado (71st), Addie Westman (84th) and Natalie Fendrich (86th) also competed for the Irish.

“The girls did well in a strong field for their first 5k of the season. We can tighten our two packs a little more the next time around,” Harder said. “In addition, Sydney Regalado has had limited training and Sydney Hansen didn’t compete. By late October we should have at least six girls in the upper part of the field.”

The Irish compete again Saturday in the Roy Griak Invitational at Les Bolstad Golf Course.