Canby/Minneota wins opening season meet

COTTONWOOD-The Canby/Minneota team swept the podium at the Lakeview Invite at Cottonwood Country Club Tuesday.

Natalie Dinius from CM took first place in the girls race and her brother Travis Dinius came in first in the boys race.

CM beat teams from Lakeview, MACCRAY/Renville County West, and Yellow Medicine East.

Its strategy centered around running together as a team.

“We were wanting the kids to do some pack running and motivate each other along,” said coach Beth Jessen after the races finished.

The CM girls, led by Natalie Dinius came through the first lap as a pack. “I wanted to lead us out and get us going. We all wanted to get top five,” said Natalie Dinius. Soon, she separated herself from the pack. “We wanted to stick together, but I wanted to pick it up a little,” she added.

She finished the race nearly a minute ahead of her teammates at 15:44. The girls took seven of the top eight spots as well.

The C/M boys team had the same team mentality as well. Travis Dinius said that this allows for everyone to encourage everyone else.

“A lot of it is just pushing myself and as I push myself I’m going to push my teammates too,” he said.

Travis Dinius finished the course in 17:13. He finished the last 200 meters of the race in a dead sprint.

“You want to finish hard in the race. You want to feel like you achieved something great,” he said.

Jessen thought that her team raced well, but thought they had more to show. She said that the eighth place finisher in the boys race, Nathan Cooper, had been sick and she expected him to improve in future races. Jessen was also surprised by the second place finish of Mitchell Johansen, who hadn’t raced in a cross country meet in a few years.

C/M started working on their team running over the summer at a camp at Augustana College in South Dakota. They incorporated some of the things they learned in the camp at the Lakeview race.

“We do this thing now where if were in a group and you know someone has fallen back a little bit you put your hand down. They’re going to run up and they’re going to tag your hand. They’re going to sprint up to get with you, so they might as well stay with you the rest of the race,” said Travis Dinius.

Jessen also said that the team had been doing extra hurdle workouts that they learned at Augustana.