The latest example came at the Caty Delwiche Invitational at Glencoe-Silver Lake last Thursday, Sept. 20, where the Central girls posted a first place finish at the six-team meet and claimed four of the medals available to the top 10 individuals.
“It was nice to bring home some hardware. We had a really, really good meet,” said Raiders head coach Mark Lagergren.
The girls posted the low score of 46 to finish ahead of some tough competition, including G-SL (66), Hutchinson (76), St. Peter (87), LeSueur-Henderson (112 and Litchfield (team score not available).
The top four Raiders, including Judy Larson (16:18, third overall), Parry Larson (16:31, fourth), Abbie Schnabel (16:48, sixth) and April Feist (17:02, eighth) earned medals, and Dana Norman (18:45) also contributed to the team score. Kayla Engelstad rounded out the varsity roster at the meet.
Schnabel, Feist and Norman each set personal records during the race.
“Abbie Schnabel has helped us a lot. She’s pushing everyone else along. And April is having a really good year,” said Lagergren. “It was a flat course and a nice day.”
The Central boys took fourth place at the meet with 99 points behind Hutchinson (24), G-SL (61), Litchfield (92). LeSueur-Henderson (119) and St. Peter (119) brought up the rear.
Despite battling a cold, Alex Wischnack set a personal record and finished fourth overall to earn Central’s only medal on the boys’ side (17:04). The rest of the varsity team also set personal records, including Ben Barth (18:19), Chase Heuer (18:34), Cole Sauter (18:53), Andrew Wischnack (19:24), Devon Dvorak (19:24) and Alex Kayser (19:27).
“I didn’t think we’d get five guys under 20 this early in the season,” said Lagergren, adding that the young team’s performance has been better than expected this year thanks to outstanding effort.
“I am surprised that their times keep lowering as well as they do, but the kids are working hard,” he said. “We’re working hard in practice and we’re staying healthy. I think they’ve kind of bought into the system. They got the miles in this summer, which helps. We’ll just try to keep climbing until conference.”
Lagergren said the team will continue working to improve during workouts, and said he aims to keep the runners in good shape both mentally and physically with only one more two-meet week on the schedule.
“I want them hungry. That’s why we’re going to one meet. Then they’re hungry to compete. Come conference, they’re really hungry,” he said. “I don’t want them stale, saying, “Oh, just another meet.”
That attitude shouldn’t be a concern going forward, however, if the first half of the season is any indication.
“The kids are working hard. Some do more than I ask them to,” said Lagergren. “That makes coaching easy. I’m just there for the show.”