Three straight conference championships

The Hastings Raiders boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams competed in the Metro East Conference championships on Tuesday, Oct. 15, and junior Linnea Urban captured her first championship for the girls. She ran a time of 20 minutes, 0.20 seconds, over 22 seconds ahead of the runner-up and a season-best time. It is Urban’s third-straight conference championship in the past three sports she has competed in. She won a conference championship in nordic skiing last winter, in the one-mile during track this past spring and now for cross-country. Urban said that the cross-country championship is especially sweet.

“It felt really good, especially because the third sport is usually the hardest one to get,” Urban said. “I have been doing track and nordic since seventh grade so I have a lot more experience in those sports than I have in cross-country because I started in ninth grade. It was different because I got my mile conference title in eighth grade and my nordic one in ninth so it’s been two years since I’ve had a new title.”

Head coach John Dewall reiterated what Urban said.

“This (a cross-country conference championship) was the tough one, she’s already won three-straight mile championships in track and the goal is to go for five, but do it three times in three different sports, that’s pretty unheard of in the distance world,” he said. “There’s a ton of good distance runners and skiers and to pull off three of them and to be on your game on those days when the titles are held is very remarkable. I knew this one was the one that would be the tough one because of some setbacks in the last couple years. She wanted this one really bad and did everything right to get it.”

The significance of winning three straight conference championships in three consecutive sports also did not escape her.

“I think it does (have a special significance),” Urban said. “I am really proud of that accomplishment and I don’t know who the last person to do that was, but I think it is difficult to do, but I can’t do anything without my coaches and teammates.”

Next up for Urban is sections where she has not had the best of luck in the past, including narrowly missing out on state last year.

“I am feeling really good going into sections,” she said. “The last two years I have not had the best races at sections, I have been sick or hurt so I would really like to have a good race that I can feel proud about.”

Both teams take third

Eighth grader Skylar Little Soldier surprised everyone, including head coach John Dewall, when she won the JV meet at the Simley Invite and then was the Raiders' No. 2 runner at the Metro East Conference championships on Tuesday, Oct. 15. Here she runs at the Dewey Minnaert Invitational earlier in the season. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia
Eighth grader Skylar Little Soldier surprised everyone, including head coach John Dewall, when she won the JV meet at the Simley Invite and then was the Raiders' No. 2 runner at the Metro East Conference championships on Tuesday, Oct. 15. Here she runs at the Dewey Minnaert Invitational earlier in the season. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia

The Hastings boys’ and girls’ teams each finished third overall at the conference championships, the boys in a field of nine teams and the girls against four other schools.

After Urban was eighth grader Skylar Little Soldier was 13th with a time of 22:04.20, fellow eighth grader Genevieve Lawson finished 20th in 23:02.10 and right behind her in 21st was sophomore Autumn Adricula (23:11.90).

The finish of Little Soldier came as a surprise to everyone, including Dewall.

“That girl, she wasn’t in our top seven and at the Simley Invite we had her and two other girls racing in that race and I said ‘the winner of the three girls here is going to be in the top seven for conference’,” he said. “So Skylar went out in that rainy, slop, wet, mud contest at Simley and won the whole JV meet and her time would have put her at fourth on varsity. At a mile-and-a-half (at conference) she’s our second girl and I’m just like ‘wow, that’s amazing’ and she held it throughout the race to finish 13th overall, All-Conference, she became a runner.”

“Eve’s really learned how to become a runner and has just been really, really focused all season,” Dewall added about Lawson. “It’s a great deal having her and she’s been our solid No. 2 pretty much all year.”

Eighth grader Elise Atkins took 22nd with a time of 23:12.50, fellow eighth grader Jordyn Doughty finished 24th in 23:20.90 and junior Brooke Erickson placed 26th (23:32.60).

The Raider boys were led by junior Nolan Myers, who took ninth with a time of 17:47.80. Sophomore Tyler Bushinski took 14th with a time of 17:54.40, while sophomore Thomas Siebenaler (18:02.30) and senior Luke Harris (18:06.40) finished back-to-back in 18th and 19th respectively. Senior William Jensen took 24th with a time of 18:22.20, sophomore Alexander Smith finished 34th in 18:57.80 and junior Evan McGinnis placed 51st (20:18.70).

“There was a lot of PRs from kids, I thought Nolan really came through, Tyler Bushinski in his first year of cross-country has had a great season and a pretty solid meet,” Dewall said. “Tommy Siebenaler, Luke Harris they were also All-Conference Honorable mention, they raced really well too. Those four really stood out obviously, very proud of them for third overall.”

Junior Nolan Myers led the Raider boys at the Metro East Conference championships with a ninth-place finish to help them finish third overall. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia
Junior Nolan Myers led the Raider boys at the Metro East Conference championships with a ninth-place finish to help them finish third overall. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia

Hastings next meet is the Section 1AA race in Owatonna at Brooktree Golf Course on Thursday, Oct. 24. Brooktree is known as a fast course barring the weather and Dewall said a couple of factors go into making it so, even more than other golf courses they race. First is the course is primarily on the short fairway grass and not the thicker and longer rough that can slow runners down. Also, the course does not get overly wet and sloppy due to it having more of a sandy soil. Finally, there are limited twists and turns, lots of straightaways and the final couple hundred meters are downhill, which allows the best runners to knock a significant chunk off their times.