3 STMA runners earn All-State in cross country

STMA’s Rachel King gets a step on the pack on her way to a 13th place finish in the class “AA” Girls 4K. (Photo by Bill Jones)

STMA’s Rachel King gets a step on the pack on her way to a 13th place finish in the class “AA” Girls 4K. (Photo by Bill Jones)

 

“All-State” runners for the STMA Knights that competed in the State Cross Country Meet gather Saturday, Nov. 2, at St. Olaf College in Northfield. They include, left to right, Rachel King, Chase Cayo, and Lizzy Heil.

“All-State” runners for the STMA Knights that competed in the State Cross Country Meet gather Saturday, Nov. 2, at St. Olaf College in Northfield. They include, left to right, Rachel King, Chase Cayo, and Lizzy Heil.

The St. Michael-Albertville cross country team qualified 3 runners for the State Cross Country Meet and came home with 3 “All-State” runners. For junior Rachel King and freshman Lizzy Heil, it was the 2nd time in as many years for each of them to earn “All-State” distinction by placing in the “top 25” of the State Cross Country Meet. Heil placed 12th in the class “AA” Girls 4K, on Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield, while King placed 13th.

Both had an official time of 14:36. Last year, Rachel King became STMA’s first “All-State” female, since moving to class “AA” in 1999, as she placed 14th. Lizzy Heil was 23rd in 2012 to become STMA’s second “All-State” female.

Knight coach Gregg Greeno commented, “Both of the girls were a little disappointed, because their goal was to make the podium(top 10) and they were so close, less than a second away, but placing 2 runners in the “top 13” is pretty special. I know Rachel didn’t feel the greatest before the race, but she ran a gutsy race, as did Lizzy. There’s no other race like the State Meet, because of the level of competition, the added emotions, and just the different pace that the race goes out at. The competition seems to get better/tougher each year, so we are very proud of what the girls accomplished. Rachel won 6 races this year, Lizzy won one and was second to Rachel in 5 races, so the 2 of them had quite a season. The Knight duo of King and Heil has definitely made a name for themselves in Minnesota cross country.” Coach Heather Strait added, “Not only are these 2 girls great runners, but it’s been such a pleasure to work with them. It’s easy to coach them, because they work so hard, have such great attitudes, and are extremely competitive.”

Knight junior Chase Cayo placed 6th overall to earn “All-State” for the first time, doing so in his 2nd trip to the State Cross Country Meet. Last year, Cayo placed 49th at St. Olaf in the State Meet.

Coach Kevin Crocker said about Cayo, “He has ceased to amaze us with his improvement from last season, and the way he got better and better each race right up until the State Meet, where he had to have his best race of the year to place as high as he did. He runs with a lot of heart.”

Coach Greeno added, “Chase again set a personal best time of 15:43 and the State Meet course is not an easy course to set a personal best time, at. Since moving to class “AA” jn cross country in 1999, STMA has had 3 runners make the podium(top 10) and all as seniors(Dan Greeno-8th, Jake Autio-5th, and Brendan Sage-8th), which puts Chase with some pretty fast company. Chase has been our first-ever to make the podium at State, as a junior. He had an amazing race.”

The annual STMA Cross Country banquet will be held Tuesday November 12th at the STMA High School cafeteria.

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