PREP CROSS COUNTRY: Runners, teams seek titles at state meet Saturday

NORTHFIELD?- Three team champions return Saturday, when the Minnesota State High School League hosts the 2013 Boys and Girls Cross Country State Championships at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

The Perham boys (Class A) and the Wayzata girls (Class AA) are both in the hunt for their second consecutive titles. The Stillwater Area boys (Class AA) are looking for their third consecutive team championship.

A new individual champion will emerge in every race. The 2012 runner-up is the highest returning qualifier in the Class A girls race and the Class AA boys and girls races. In the Class A boys race, last year’s third-place finisher leads all individual qualifiers.

The girls run a 4,000-meter course. The boys run a 5,000-meter course.

Class A Boys

The Yellowjackets of Perham return to defend their 2012 title. They have five runners with previous state meet experience. Nine other teams also return from last year’s field: Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Winona Cotter, Waseca, Martin County West, Redwood Valley, Minnehaha Academy, Mora, St. Cloud Cathedral and Proctor.

The other teams that qualified this year are Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI, Mounds Park Academy, Glencoe-Silver Lake, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, Crosby-Ironton and Roseau.

The final rankings from the state coaches association for the qualified teams are: 1. Perham, 2. Waseca, 3. Minnehaha Academy, 4. Martin County West, 5. Crosby-Ironton, 6. Mora, 7. Plainview-Elgin-Millville, 8. Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, 10. Mounds Park Academy and 12. St. Cloud Cathedral.

Junior Shane Streich, of Waseca, is the highest returning individual medal-winner after placing third in 2012. Five other Top 10 finishers also return: senior Nick Golebiowski, of St. Cloud Cathedral, fourth; senior Keeghan Hurley, of Perham, fifth; senior Ian Torchia, of Rochester Lourdes, sixth; senior Jayden Cullen, of Perham, eighth; and junior Isaac Overmyer of Park Rapids Area, tenth.

Hurley was ranked No. 1 in the final coaches poll, followed by Torchia at No. 2, Streich at No. 3, Overmyer at No. 7, and Cullen at No. 8.

The Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI runners include Wyatt Johansen, McKinley Johansen, Anthony Wollum, Josue Leos, Travis Dinius, Braeden Full and Konnor King.

Area individual qualifiers include Jacob Carroll, of Yellow Medicine East; Matt Lavoy, of Tracy-Milroy-Balaton; Andy Garza, of Murray County Central; and John Wagner, of Lac Qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd.

Class A Girls

Six of last year’s 16 teams are back. The Annandale Cardinals, who earned runner-up honors the last two years, are the highest returning qualifiers. They return with five runners from last year’s roster.

Other teams that are returning are Waseca, Spectrum/Legacy, Holdingford, International Falls, and Perham. The other qualified teams are Dover-Eyota, Lake City, Fairmont, Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd, Luverne, Holy Family Catholic, St. Paul Academy & Summit School, St. Cloud Cathedral, South Ridge/Cherry/North Woods and Park Rapids Area.

The final rankings from the state coaches association for the qualified teams are: 1. Annandale; 3. Perham; 4. Fairmont; 5. Dover-Eyota; 6. Waseca; 7. St. Cloud Cathedral; 8. Luverne; 9. Lac Qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd; 11. St. Paul Academy & Summit School; and 12. Spectrum/Legacy.

Senior Emi Trost, of Cannon Falls, who earned runner-up honors last year, is the highest returning Top 10 finisher. She was also ranked No. 1 in the final coaches poll.

Four additional Top 10 finishers also return: senior McKenzie Holt, of St. Cloud Christian, third; sophomore Elizabeth Schlafke, of Annandale, sixth; senior Savannah Ramirez, of Litchfield, seventh; and ninth-grader Madison Schandelmeier of Luverne, ninth.

Schandelmeier was No. 3 in the final rankings from the state coaches association, followed by Holt at No. 6, and Schlafke at No. 12.

The Lac Qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd runners include Alaysia Freetly, Kelly Kaval, Sadie Thompson, Grace Hegland, Jordyn Sterud, Sydney Bartunek and Sydney Giese.

Senior Leah Jessen, of Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI, is the only area runner to qualify for the state championships as an individual in 2013.

Class AA Boys

Nine of last year’s 16 teams will be back, including the two-time defending champions from Stillwater Area. The Ponies have three runners with previous state meet experience. Other teams returning from last year’s meet are Rosemount, White Bear Lake Area, Centennial of Circle Pines, Mounds View, Wayzata, Edina, Chisago Lakes Area of Lindstrom, and Bemidji. The other teams in the field are Red Wing, Lakeville North, Hutchinson, Chanhassen, Burnsville, Cloquet, and Alexandria.

The final rankings from the state coaches association for the qualified teams are: 1. Wayzata; 2. Edina; 3. Stillwater Area; 4. Hutchinson; 6. Mounds View; 7. Centennial; 11. Rosemount; and 12. Bemidji.

In the individual competition, senior Obsa Ali, of Richfield is the highest returning qualifier. He is looking to improve on last year’s runner-up showing.

In addition to Ali, three other 2012 Top 10 finishers also return: junior Joe Klecker, of Hopkins, third; junior Connor Olson, of Wayzata, fifth; and junior Faysal Malmoud, of Burnsville, 10th.

Ali was ranked No. 1 in the final coaches poll and Olson followed at No. 2.

Senior Andrew Bell, of Marshall, qualified as an individual runner for the second consecutive year and third time overall. He was also a member of the Tigers’ state qualifying team in 2011, when Bell was a sophomore.

Class AA Girls

Eleven teams, led by the defending champions from Wayzata, return from the 2012 field. The Trojans return with all nine members of last year’s team.

The other returning teams are Lakeville South, Lakeville North, Chanhassen, Eagan, East Ridge of Woodbury, Roseville Area, Totino-Grace of Fridley, Forest Lake, Elk River, and Willmar. Marshall, Burnsville, Anoka, Eden Prairie, and Bemidji round out this year’s qualifying field.

The final rankings from the state coaches association for the qualified teams are: 1. Wayzata; 2. East Ridge; 3. Lakeville South; 4. Eagan; 5. Willmar; 6. Chanhassen; 7. Bemidji; 8. Forest Lake; 9. Roseville Area; 10. Eden Prairie; and 11. Marshall.

Sophomore Anna French, of Wayzata leads the field of five returning Top 10 finishers. She earned runner-up honors in 2012. The other runners include sophomore Bethany Hasz, of Alexandria, third; sophomore Megan Hasz, of Alexandria, sixth; senior Bethany Kozak, of White Bear Lake Area, eighth; and senior Anna Maurer, of Hill-Murray.

French was ranked No. 1 in the final coaches poll. The others were Megan Hasz at No. 2 and Bethany Hasz at No. 3.

The Marshall runners include Claire Boersma, Jackie Turner, Nichole Sample, Morgan Radel, Courtney Mauch, Sydney Mauch and Marah Hart.