Girls win at HibbingThe Two Harbors/Cook County girls cross country team three-peated by easily winning the 13 team Hibbing Invitational for the third year in a row. For the boys, Kieran Scannell earned his first varsity win at the same meet.
By: News-Chronicle reports, Lake County News Chronicle
The Two Harbors/Cook County girls cross country team three-peated by easily winning the 13 team Hibbing Invitational for the third year in a row. For the boys, Kieran Scannell earned his first varsity win at the same meet.
“Outright wins are rare in cross country, as every meet involves at least seven teams, and as many as 40,” said head coach Chris Hegg. “This is the seventh championship for this group of girls over the last three years. In the prior eight years of our cross-country program, the girls’ teams had one win and the boys’ teams two.”
The recent weather is another challenge the team had to overcome.
“The radical change of weather in October has been a difficult adjustment,” Hegg said. “We went from gorgeous summertime running and sunning in September to cold, rain, wind and even a little snow in October. Hibbing was all of that – especially cold and windy.”
The team was also facing the flattest course of the season, along with an injury, at Hibbing Municipal Golf Course.
“Our strategy would be a little different, as we had to stay in touch a little more, rather than count on the competition dying on the hills,” Hegg said. “The girls also had to get by without last years’ leader, state meet qualifier Signe Larson, out with a lower leg injury. Since our major rival Esko was missing a number of their top girls, we were fairly confident.”
Sonja Peterson and Ailee Larson took off right behind the leaders, while Anna Schield, Michelle Weitz and Shelby Ahrendt were in the top three, with Molly Rider, Mercedes Leininger and Amber Fletcher near the middle of the pack.
Larson was fourth in 16:16 while Peterson was three places back in 16:38. Schield was 14th in 17:26 (she returned after missing almost two weeks) and Weitz finished 16th in 17:50. Ahrendt had her best run ever, 18:00, placing 19th.
Leininger finished with a time of 17:27, while Fletcher had a big personal best of 18:44 and Rider the event in 19:09.
The varsity boys followed immediately after the girls.
“We knew this race would be tough, as perennial state power Eveleth always takes the pace out fast, and Virginia and Esko are challenging them,” Hegg said. “It is also confusing at Hibbing, since class AA (Duluth East Superior, Hibbing etc.) run with class A, with only the results separating the classes. You never know quite where you are in the race.”
Scannell started out tucked back in about 20th doing 5:30-mile pace. David Bergstrom and Drew Holmen were running close together while Josh Ensign was hanging tight behind them.
“Leif Gilsvik was off to his best start of the year, with Ben Seaton lurking in the back half and first time varsity runner Alex Ditmanson trying to stay with Seaton,” Hegg said. “Daniel Ditmanson was working hard to keep brother Alex in sight and Sebastian Schnobrich running his steady pace, working to improve in every race in his first season.”
As the team got into the third and final lap, Scannell had gradually moved up to about 10th in the combined AA-A field.
“As we ran over to the finishing stretch, watching and coaching cross country requires a lot of running from point to point on the multi-lap courses, I started counting the number of A boys in front of him,” Hegg said. “There were just three and they were all right in front. I hollered that to Kieran, he dug deep for the next running gear, and caught them all in the final 100 yards for the win.”
Holmen and Bergstrom finished 19th and 21st, both in 18:41, a big career best for both on them.
All the boys’ varsity runners had career bests except Scannell. Ensign was 28th in 19:09, Gilsvik finished in 19:38 for 38th and Seaton finished in 57th in 20:33. Alex Ditmanson finished 72nd in 22:10 while Daniel Ditmanson ran it in 22:32 and Schnobrich finished with a time of 26:06.
The boys finished third in the team competition.