St. Michael-Albertville senior Brendan Sage and sophomore Rachel King were impressive in winning individual titles at the Mississippi-8 Conference Cross Country Championships hosted by STMA at the St. Michael Rec. Center.
For Sage, it was his second consecutive individual Conference cross country title and unlike last season when he outkicked Monticello’s Phil LaValle down the homestretch, he dominated this year’s race from start to finish breaking his own 5K school record and his own course record. Sage ran an impressive time of 15:43 for the 5K, ahead of Buffalo’s Dan Pettit, the individual runnerup, who ran the 5K in a time of 16:17. Buffalo edged the Knights by a single point to win the team title with 49 points. STMA scored 50 points followed by Monticello-62, Rogers-102, Big Lake-125, and Cambridge-Isanti rounding out the Boys field with 158 points.
STMA runners Chase Cayo and Jake Monseth each earned “All Conference” in the boys race placing 4th and 12th respectively, Cayo running the course in a time of 16:28 and Monseth running a time of 17:17, both personal best times. Dominic Shovelain (14th-17:29) earned “Honorable Mention-All Conference”. Other Knights in the varsity race were: Christian Eiynck (19th-17:39), Alec Birk (22nd-17:41), Derek Johanson (23rd-17:44), Luke Pelant (27th-17:55), Jeremy Goude (39th-18:42), and Nick Gullickson (41st-18:45).
Rachel King was equally impressive winning the varsity Girls 4K also in a school record and course record time of 14:30, in this, her first year competing in cross country. King had close competition finshing ahead of Monticello’s Mariah Betzler (14:32), Monticello’s Amber Seidenkranz (14:35), and Noelle Olson (Big Lake-14:58). Betzler, Seidenkranz, and Olson were all ranked in the “top 10” individually in Minnesota and King had lost to all 3 earlier this season. Monticello had 35 points to win the Girls team title followed by STMA-48, Big Lake-62, Buffalo-77, Rogers-133, and Cambridge-Isanti-168.
Senior Maddi Sjelin placed 5th individually earning “All Conference” status for the third time in cross country. Sjelin’s time of 15:12 for the 4K was her season-best time. 8th grader Lizzy Heil ran an impressive 15:18, placing 6th to earn “All Conference”. And STMA’s Abbie Herbst had a personal best time of 16:19 to place 16th earning “Honorable Mention-All Conference”. Other Knights competing on the varsity included: Tori Hamre (20th-16:32), McKenna Rogers (23rd-16:45), Bobbi Brendefur (31st-17:14), and Beth Hinkemeyer (34th-17:41).
The STMA boys junior varsity team finished 2nd to Buffalo and the Knights girls junior varsity
was 2nd to Monticello. Leading runner for the Knight boys JV was freshman Lukas Layton who placed 5th in the race, in a time of 18:31. Rylee Hanson led the STMA girls JV placing 6th in a time of 17:33 for the 4K.
Coach Greeno commented, “It was an exciting day with great weather, lots of fans cheering on the runners, and some exciting races. We were proud of the kids for competing hard and even though we were denied the Conference title in the boys in a close dual with Buffalo, we have to feel good about what we accomplished. The girls gave it their all, too. They battled and gave a very good Monticello team a good run.”
The Knights next compete in the Section 5AA Cross Country Meet at Anoka High School on Thursday October 25th. The Girls varsity race is at 3:30 PM and the Boys varsity is at 4:00 PM.
“Top 2” teams advance to the State and the “top 8” individuals that aren’t on advancing teams qualify for the State Meet, also. The Knights were Section champions in last year’s meet and the boys were 3rd among 15 teams in the Section.