by Bruce Strand
Elk River Star News
Rogers had never won a cross country meet before the Royal boys emerged as surprise champions at the first Royal Elk Invitational, an event they co-hosted with Elk River.
“The guys were really excited to hear they had won,” said coach Chad Kreuser. “This is really encouraging.”
Royal senior Reed Parent was meet runner-up behind Elk River sophomore Lucas Trapp, leading the first-place team at Fox Hollow Golf Club.
The Royals also had Caleb Burke in eighth place, Tyler Bethke in 11th, Carl Parent in 13th and Collin Young in 16th as they edged Monticello 50 to 53.
Elk River placed third with 80, but Rogers didn’t gloat about that.
“They were missing a couple guys,” said Kreuser.
Rogers has hosted an invitational the past three Octobers, but when Krueser took over as Royal coach this year, he got together with longtime Elk coach Mike Niziolek to make it a joint effort. They made it an all-district event with Zimmerman also on hand.
Trapp was far out in front, finishing in 16:45.7, about 55 seconds ahead of Parent.
“It was more like a workout than a race, something to use to get better for sections and conference,” said Trapp. He said Parent is “a good friend, we talk a lot … It was pretty fun to run with him, but I think he’s been sick.”
Parent, who won the Rogers Invitational last year in 16:12, a personal best at the time, labored to a 17:41 finish. Parent said he was just getting over an illness. Otherwise it was a good time.
“I liked racing with the local guys,” said Parent, adding that he’s run against Trapp at the U of M meet and at the state meet but not in a small, intimate event before.
About his team, Parent said, “We are finishing strong. I’m really happy with the way our guys are working. We’ve got guys moving up from JV and running for us. I’m happy to see that. We are ready for conference.”
Rogers finished a very busy week where they enjoyed some success. They placed eighth among 60 teams at the Roy Griak Invitational Maroon (second-tier) division on Saturday, and third among nine teams at St. Michael-Albertville on Tuesday.
“We’ve had kind of a tough stretch,” said Kreuser. “The guys are tired, but it’s a good tired. They’re excited. And now we’ll have a week off before conference.”
Rogers will have its conference meet Oct. 15 at St. Francis. Elk River will host its conference meet Thursday at Elk River Golf Club.