Two meets in a week is always a difficult scheduling obstacle for cross country teams, particularly when one of those meets falls on a windy, 90-degree day, but the Raiders recovered from that difficult first meet to run one of their best competitions of the season last Friday, Sept. 14.
The week began with the annual Lions Invitational at Baylor Park on Tuesday, Sept. 11, where the Central girls placed 11th out of 15 teams and the Central boys took 14th out of 20 teams.
“We had two meets this week and I don’t like doing that. Tuesday was just hot,” said Central head coach Mark Lagergren. “Times were slow across the board, but I thought our kids ran really well. They just did it. Nobody was running PRs that day.”
Holy Family finished first in the girls’ race with 41 points, while the Raider girls had 269 points.
Abbie Schnabel (17:36) led the Central team, followed by Judy Larson (17:47), April Feist (17:57), Kayla Engelstad (21:39), Emma Schmidt (22:30) and Dana Norman (22:20). Parry Larson also ran at the meet but did not finish.
On the boys’ side, Mound-Westonka won the meet with 77 points, while the Raiders posted 314 points.
Alex Wischnack (17:44) led the Raiders, followed by Ben Barth (19:29), Chase Heuer (19:46), Alex Kayser (20:30), Devon Dvorak (20:32), Andrew Wischnack (20:35) and Cole Sauter (21:27).
While Tuesday’s meet was likely one most runners simply wanted to put behind them, Friday’s meet at Mankato Loyola was an outstanding performance for the Raiders.
The Central girls took second place at the eight-team meet with 55 points, finishing just five points behind Mankato Loyola, and the boys took third out of eight teams with 86 points while Loyola/Cleveland won the meet with 54 points. The majority of both boys and girls running for Central also set personal records for the day.
On the girls’ side, four of the first eight runners to cross the finish line were wearing Central’s colors. Judy Larson (16:11) ran faster than ever before to finish second overall. Her sister, Parry Larson (16:35), was right behind in third place. Schnabel (16:49) took fifth place overall, and Feist (17:04) was eighth. Kayla Engelstad (19:32) also scored, and Dana Norman and Alyssa Eiden rounded out the varsity-level performances.
All of those individuals, with the exception of Parry Larson, posted personal record times during the day.
“The course was nice and flat and it was a beautiful day,” said Lagergren. “We had PRs all over the place.”
In the boys’ race, Alex Wischnack (17:27) was Central’s top runner. Almost all the remaining Raiders set personal record times — including Barth (18:36), Heuer (18:58), Sauter (19:16), Andrew Wischnack (20:10) and Dvorak (20:13) — while Kayser rounded out the varsity roster.
Tri-City United was the only other Minnesota River Conference team at the meet, and the Central boys edged out the Titans by a single point after finishing behind the Titans at a previous meet.
“The kids ran exceptionally well,” said Lagergren. “The kids are working very hard and it is paying off. “Now we just want to maintain and get a little faster and tweak a few things. We’re right in the mix for the conference. We just had a really good week.”