Area cross country teams find success at Thundering Royal Elk Invite
The Elk River, Rogers and Zimmerman cross country teams found success in the schools' annual home meet, otherwise known as the Thundering Royal Elk Invite, at Fox Hollow Golf Club on Oct. 4.
Starting with the boys race, Rogers topped area teams with a second-place finish out of 16 teams, including two top-10 finishers Alex Heidorn and senior captain Ethan Anderson.
Heidorn placed seventh with a time of 17:02.6, while Anderson rounded out the top-10 with a time of 17:14.2). They were followed by Thomas Glad (12th in 17:19.5), Jacob Dirschel (20th in 17:34.2) and Joey Clauson (55th in 18:31.7, giving the team 98 points – only trailing first-place East Ridge with 25 points.
“When I found out that there were going to be about 20 teams at the meet, I never even thought that we were even going to place during the meet,” Anderson admitted after the race. “It wasn't until about halfway through the race when I realized that we could potentially get second. I especially knew that it would be a close race against Elk River. … Overall, a really good performance.”
Indeed, Rogers and Elk River finished neck-and-neck, as Lucas Gustafson got the Elks off to a great start with a third-place finish (16:56.3). But Elk River would finish just behind the Royals with 104 points, partially due to the fact that Rogers placed four within the top-20 as opposed to just one for the Elks.
Even so, Elk River’s top-five still placed well, finishing in the top-30 of 131 participants. Behind Lucas, Joseph Gustafson finished 21st in 17:36.4 and was followed by Miles Olofson (17:40.9), Adam Boeckermann (17:49.3) and Gavin Hilyar (30th in 17:50.3).
The Thunder placed 15th with Jordan Opsahl leading the team with a 61st-place finish and time of 18:41.8.
The girls varsity race was to follow and once again, the Royals and Elks finished among the top teams, but it was Zimmerman who ran away with first place out of 12 teams.
Cheresa Bouley led the way, finishing second overall in 19:18.1, continuing a successful season that’s led to multiple top-two finishes through seven meets.
“I've been feeling good about this season. I put a lot of extra work in over this summer, and it's been paying off,” Bouley said, noting her goal is to break 19 minutes by the end of the season. “I was happy about my finish in this race, but I was even happier to see my team do well. We are a family and we support each other.”
Bouley’s supporting cast came through once again, with three more runners finishing in the top-12. Sophia Smith took seventh in 20:10.3, while Hailee Zimple took 10th (20:18.2) and Peyton Opsahl took 12th (20:34). Emily Baker rounded out the Thunder’s top-five with a 27th-place finish (21:30.8), giving the team a total of 55 points.
Zimmerman bested cross-country powerhouse East Ridge for the top spot by 12 points and has proven to be one of the top teams in the state this season, having won multiple meets, including the 18-team Pierz tournament on Sept.17.
“It's been awesome for me and my team to do so well this season, especially since we are a smaller school,” Bouley said. “Zimmerman is kind of an underdog, so many people don't really expect much from us. I love how Sophia, Hailee, Peyton, Emily, and I can show everyone what Zimmerman is made of.”
Trailing Zimmerman and East Ridge was Elk River and Rogers, who finished third and fourth, respectively.
Elk River, led by Audrey Neuerburg-Chapman's fifth-place finish (19:52.8), took third with 82 poiints, while Rogers finished fourth with 99 points. Clara Glad was the Royals top-finisher, taking eighth place with a time of 20:14.9.
Behind Neuerburg-Chapman was Malayna Leuthold (14th in 20:44.1), Elaina Kuhnau (16th in 20:51.9), Ava Grimm (21st in 21:06.8) and Madison MItzuk (33rd in 21:43.2). It was another top-end finish for the Elks, who have consistently placed near the top of the leaderboard along with the boys team all season long. They look to continue their success into the Northwest Suburban Conference tournament on Oct. 10.
As for Rogers, Anna Eich and Anna Cargill were right behind Glad, finishing 13th (20:38.3) and 15th overall (20:49.5). Rounding out the Royals’ top-five was Nicole Beutz (28th in 21:32.8) and Mikaela Hetchler (44th in 22:16.3).
Like Elk River, Rogers has found themselves in the top-half of the leaderboard most of the season. Royals head coach Margaret Litchy said that this meet was just another step in the right direction and she was thrilled to have the chance to compete against Elk River and Zimmerman, who are also having great years.
“I am very excited about how my team has been performing this year,” Litchy said. “I am also happy for Elk River and Zimmerman. They both have good programs and we always look forward to competing against them.
Zimmerman girls cross-country team continues to find success in Foley
The Thunder girls cross-country team had another impressive finish at the Foley Invite on Sept. 27, finishing third out of 11 teams. Senior captain Cheresa Bouley took first place in the meet, while Sophia Smith and Peyton Opsahl took fifth and sixth, respectively. Zimmerman was coming off a successful showing in the Milaca Mega Meet on Sept. 22 and also won the 18-team Pierz Invite on Sept. 17, which Bouley took first in as well.
As for the boys, they took 11th of 12 teams at the Foley Invite, with Jordan Opsahl leading the way.
Up next, the Thunder were scheduled to compete in the Thundering Royal Elk Invite at Fox Hollow on Oct. 4 before competing in the Princeton invite on Oct. 9.
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