By Matthew Davis
Sun Post Newspapers
In 30 years of coaching, Champlin Park’s Kevin Moorhead never faced what he had to this summer.
One of his runners, Jason McCarthy, had been killed in an auto accident by a drunk driver in late July. While Moorhead made time for his assistants and runners to talk through what happened, the eighth-year Rebels coach also kept his team running strong.
“We’re going to go full boar once the season starts,” Moorhead said a few days before their first practice on Aug. 11.
Full boar certainly showed for the Rebels as the boys and girls teams swept their season-opening home meet on Friday, Aug. 22. The boys team won by three points over Blaine, and the girls squad edged Orono by a point.
“‘Speedy’s’ [coach Brian McCollar] been there forever,” Moorhead said of Orono. “It’s a good, solid program.”
Rebels Sophomore Diana Glebova won her first cross country meet and set a new course record at Northwoods Park in Brooklyn Park. Her time of 12 minutes, 20.1 seconds in the two-mile race clocked four seconds faster than second-place Sarah Olson of Blaine at 12:24.2.
“I knew the course record, and I wanted to beat it, so I knew I had to pass Sarah Olson,” Glebova said. “It feels really good.”
Glebova joined cross country after a strong ninth-grade season with the track team. She reached the state meet in the 800-meter run.
Glebova practiced with the distance runners in track, which helped lead to choosing cross country. She previously played tennis in the fall.
“I really like running with people on the team,” Glebova said. “It’s a better fit.”
She hopes to translate her success on the track to the varied terrain of cross country. Glebova showed signs of adapting well during the team’s first week of practice when she took first in their time trails.
A solid pack of Rebels finished behind her in the top ten for the race. Senior captain Katherine Novak took sixth overall at 13:02.3, and ninth-grader Taylor Zaugg finished seventh at 13:03.2. Jena Wachowiak, a sophomore, came in ninth at 13:15.4.
Madison Moore took 21st, and Cristina Zuniga and Bronwyn Lundell rounded out the Rebels’ top seven at 27th and 28th respectively.
Moorhead anticipates having a solid top 7-10 runners each meet for the girls team. Beating Coon Rapids, a traditional Northwest Suburban Conference power, also indicates a strong start for the Rebels.
“I’m excited because we have some competitive girls,” Novak said.
On the boys side, freshman Connor Janostin led a pack of Rebels to take six of the top ten spots en route to a team race victory. Janostin, a first-time cross country runner, posted a time of eleven minutes, 24.2 seconds.
“I just felt good through the race,” Janostin said. “I knew I wasn’t finishing first. The other teams have some pretty good runners, so I just tried comparing myself to my team, and I ended up on top.”
Michael Volk came in sixth at 11:26.6, and Luke Crandell finished eighth at 11:31.6. Aaron Kloeppner took ninth and Ian Ivens tenth with times of 11:34.6 and 11:35 respectively. Dmitry Bierker and Michael Urvig completed the Rebels top seven by getting into the top 16 of the race.
Champlin Park will compete at St. Olaf College in Northfield on Friday, the same course used for the state meet in November. The Rebels will run with 25-35 other teams according to Moorhead.
McCarthy memorialized on team shirt
Rebels runners will have Jason McCarthy’s initials and a passage from the Book of Isaiah on the back of their t-shirts to remember their fallen teammate. Moorhead consulted with the McCarthy family on the plans. Moorhead’s sister-in-law and the junior high cross country coach both work in ministry and helped pick out a Scripture quote.
“It’s [about] keeping Jason with us for the season,” Moorhead said.
Moorhead takes the ice bucket challenge
Fittingly with a home meet sweep, a couple of Rebels runners dumped a bucket of ice on their coach.
Moorhead planned to do it because he joined in on the recent craze of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. People all over have participated to help raise funds for people suffering from ALS.
Contact Matthew Davis at email@example.com