Champlin Park head cross-country coach Kevin Moorhead began the Rebels Northwoods Invitational meet eight years ago, but over the last two seasons, he has seen the meet truly blossom.
Moorhead invited big teams such as Shakopee, Edina and Hopkins years ago, but the three teams participated in the meet for the first time last season.
“Last year was the year we had this influx, I had a long-standing invitation to Edina and they finally accepted and Hopkins came in last year, too,” Moorhead said. “That made it a pretty premier meet right away, and we’re pretty much at capacity with eight teams.
“The field size is about 250 to 300 in JV and just about 100, each team can run 10 kids in varsity.”
Champlin Park knew it would have a tough time competing against teams such as Hopkins or Edina, but it wanted to use the meet to see where the Rebels are at after summer workouts.
“We had a major graduation at the top end for both the boys and the girls,” Moorhead said. “This will help us see what the summer has provided for us as far as their summer training.
“We had a great turnout, we had 20 boys and 20 girls sporadically come for the 10 weeks, which is terrific.”
The Champlin Park boys cross-country team finished third overall behind Hopkins and Edina. Senior Connor Janostin led the Rebels with an eighth-place finish with a time of 10 minutes and 48.5 seconds.
“It’s definitely exciting to have the opportunity to come back another year,” Janostin said. “I feel I really identified with [last season’s seniors] and it hurts to not have them here and have their presence, but we’re still running the same courses, we will try to run the same times and replace them with the guys we have here.”
Janostin feels having a home meet to kick off the season gives the Rebels an advantage as the fall season kicks off.
“It’s nice having a home meet at a course we are familiar with,” Janostin said. “I feel it gives us a home field advantage, which is nice, and it has more of a casual feel that I think our team needs for its first meet.”
Mark Scheller (12th place, 11:09.4), Eoin Keran (13th place, 11:09.8), Arik Spaude (15th place, 11:10.8), Danny Kloeppner (18th place, 11:14.5), Mitch Kahl (21st place, 11:20.1) and Ben Fisher (29th place, 11:25.9) rounded out the Rebels’ top seven runners.
The Champlin Park girls finished sixth overall. Sarina Lindell led the Rebels with a 29th place finish with a time of 13 minutes and 14.6 seconds.
Emily Lindell (33rd place, 13:36.6), Atley Schreiner (46th place, 14:17.3), Sydney Crandall (49th place, 14:40.4), Jessie Wensel (50th place, 14:46.0), Beatriz Vasquez (52nd place, 14:53.3) and Cassie Adams (56th place, 15:19.7) rounded out the Rebels’ top seven runners.
Champlin Park will compete next against Anoka at the Early Bird meet at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, at Anoka High School.
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