There are gritty elements to each long distance cross country race throughout the season as the athletes take on the course layout, the opponents and the weather conditions. At the Sept. 5 Bluejacket Invite, the sticky, muggy air seemed nothing like autumn racing conditions, and a tough field of legs took on the weaving route laid out at the Isanti Middle School.
“It was a challenge because it was so hot out today. The hardest part was the big hill which we had to run twice,” said Cambridge-Isanti junior Maddie Oullette. “Other than that it was a nice course– as long as you ran flag to flag, it was good.”
The Forest Lake girls, C-I’s Section 7AA foes, put in an incredible showing by snaring four of the top five spots and posting a very low winning score of 21. In the boys varsity race, Mounds View had five runners finish in the top 10 to score 30 points for the win.
“I think our race lived up to its billing of showcasing some really great talents. The Forest Lake girls were impressive, to say the least. The score they managed with teams such as Centennial, Andover and Duluth East in the mix is pretty staggering,” analyzed C-I Coach Josh Lowman. “The Mounds View boys did they part, as well, in a decisive victory on the guys’ side. Between Mounds View, Roseville, Centennial, Andover, Chisago Lakes, and Duluth East….our boys won’t face too much tougher competition than that, especially this early in the year.”
Sophomore Bree Erickson led all the Jacket runners by placing 11th at 17:04 for the seventh-place Bluejacket girls. “Bree is purely running on talent right now. If we can couple that with some race tactics along with some more fine-tuned conditioned practices over the next 4-6 weeks, it could be pretty exciting,” said Coach Lowman. Oullette (28th), Ashley Winselman (35th) and Shelby Swanson (44th) ran to the C-I girls’ next top placings.
Soph Paden Hallman led the Bluejacket boys with a 35th-place run in 19:13, with Henry Boettcher, Nate Wallman and Paul Elmstrand also running under 20:00. “I think what was most evident in our guys today is how young we are and how little varsity experience we have up to this point. This is in no way a horrible thing– just a simple fact, and I see them growing because of it,” added Coach Lowman. “This lineup for the guys is almost in a constant flux at this point of the season. I expect we will tighten this up over the next couple of weeks as the guys become more comfortable in these 5Ks.”
Raymond Abraham, Grey Serie and Jared Oldenburg ran the top times for the C-I boys JV. Leading the girls JV were Kayla Muehlhauser, Samantha Scudder and Rebecca Knudson. Coach Lowman noted another bright spot that the C-I middle school boys won their race with three in the top 10, including medalist Kenny Knudson.
Girls Team: Forest Lake 21, Andover 71, Duluth East 86, Centennial 86, Princeton 141, Chisago Lakes 152, Cambridge-Isanti 164, Blaine 207. Bluejackets: Erickson 11th 17:04; Oullette 28th 18:11; Winselman 35th 18:40; Swanson 44th 19:38; Guimont 46th 20:06; White 50th 20:38; Utecht 52nd 21:22.
Boys Team: Mounds View 30, Centennial 68, Andover 75, Chisago Lakes 100, Roseville 129, Duluth East 133, Blaine 198, Cambridge-Isanti 225, Princeton 247. Bluejackets: Hallman 35th 19:13; Boettcher 41st 19:31; Wallman 47th 19:50; Elmstrand 49th 19:59; Moyer 53rd 20:26; Magnuson 54th 20:28; Marshall 58th 21:00.