The heavy rain cut out the competitive element for some of the teams, but the teams attending the Somerset Cross-Country Invitational on Tuesday were there to see the course.
Somerset’s course will be the site for the 2019 Middle Border Conference race on Thursday, Oct. 17. So while teams were more concerned with safety than setting records, the meet did prove valuable. The biggest concern afterward is how quickly the course will dry after it was chewed up by the runners on Tuesday.
Teams and individuals all took different approaches to the race. New Richmond won the girls race with St. Croix Central in second place. Central won the boys race with New Richmond in second. Six of the eight MBC teams competed in the meet with Amery and Osceola not in attendance.
If coaches were looking for scouting reports on their MBC opponents, they were left with as many questions as answers. St. Croix Central coach Bill Emery said this “really wasn’t a race. Teams had an opportunity to see the course and prepare themselves for running at conference.”
Central did a pretty impressive job of not racing. In the girls race, Central’s Kaitlyn Carlson and Mya Kizer took the lead from the start and they maintained those positions, with Carlson winning in 20:15 and Kizer placing second in 20:33. Central’s Sydney Carlson ran fourth in 22:12.
The boys had equally good results. Junior Jakob Eggen separated from the pack early in the race, winning in 18:00. Central also had the third and fourth place finishers in Cougar Holder and Erik Collins.
New Richmond concentrated on pack running in both races. The top seven runners for the Tiger girls all finished within a 31-second pack. They were led by freshman Anna Fitzgerald, who placed fifth overall in 22:22.
The Tiger boys ran a similar pack. The one exception was Max Blader, who took off in pursuit of a top finish. He placed second, 21 seconds behind Eggen.
The meet was important for Somerset, both in terms of seeing the condition of the course, but showing what the Spartans are capable of the rest of the season. The Spartan girls took a respectable third place. Freshman Addie Goeltl placed third and sophomore Erin Huerta took eighth as the Spartan girls wanted to use the meet as a measuring stick. Goeltl ran so well that she ran a personal best time in the less than perfect conditions. Somerset coach Abby Christensen said Mia Olson and Megan Larse both made good progress.
After seeing the condition of the course in the first race, Christensen instructed her boys to run carefully and cautiously. She said Ryan Sauers, Alex DeGeest and Erik Forsberg were boys who showed progress in the race.