Champlin Park senior runs in fourth Class AA girls state cross country meet
The wind and snow that greeted St. Olaf college in Northfield early Nov. 3 had passed long before Cassidy Soli prepped for her fourth and final Class AA girls state cross country meet appearance.
Still, there was a sense of an oncoming storm for each of the 174 participants awaiting their 2 p.m. start time.
Shakopee senior Maria Hauger was responsible for it.
To put Hauger’s performance last Saturday into context, Wayzata’s Anna French set a new course record in the race – and finished second to Hauger by a full 15 seconds.
Hauger won her fourth consecutive Class AA state title, completing the 4-kilomter layout in 13 minutes, 42 seconds.
Soli has run each of those races – a school record at Champlin Park – and watched form afar at what the amazing Hauger as accomplished.
“She is just incredible,” said Soli. “I mean, wow, she is just crazy.”
Hauger was the toast of Northfield much of the day, but there was no question where the attention of the contingent of Champlin Park fans was during the race.
Soli hummed along at her pace, finishing with what she considered to be a solid time of 15:14.2 to place 60th overall.
“The whole race as really fast, and I wasn’t expecting that,” said Soli. “But I’m happy. I’m happy with my time, and I’m happy with just being here. To come race here four years in a row really means a lot to me.”
It has also meant a lot to the program she represents.
Champlin Park cross country coach Kevin Moorhead talked of the example Soli has set, and of the mark she has left on the team.
“I’m just the coach, so I’m just a long for the ride, but what a ride it has been,” Moorhead said. “I couldn’t be prouder of her, and what is really scary is how much better she can be. Some college coach is going to really luck out by landing her.”
Soli’s future will include running cross country in college. Where that is has yet to be determined.
Last weekend, it wasn’t even on her mind.
Instead, with her family and friends by her side, she was soaking in her final visit to the high school cross country layout situated on the backside of the St. Olaf College campus.
She’s made countless memories over the last four years at this place, and she had room for one more last Saturday.
“I just love high school cross county, and if you look around here, so does everybody else,” said Soli. “There is something special about this place. I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.”