Raider runners tune up for sections

Devon Dvorak and Chase Heuer hustle to the finish line at Watertown. Submitted photo

In the final meet of the regular season, the Central cross country team competed at Watertown on Tuesday, Oct. 16.

While the meet held no particular significance, it did allow the Raiders to maintain their edge between the Minnesota River Conference meet and the section meet, which take place this Thursday, Oct. 25 at Battle Creek Park in Maplewood.

“From the varsity standpoint, [Watertown] was not a big meet for us. It was just a tune-up for sections,” said Raiders head coach Mark Lagergren.

The Central girls took third place at the meet with 90 points behind Waconia (59) and Watertown-Mayer (79).

Judy Larson (15:48) and Parry Larson (16:21) earned medals by taking fourth place and ninth place as individuals. Abbie Schnabel (17:27), Sarah Korman (17:51) and Dana Norman (19:12) also scored for the Raiders, and Sommer Scott and Kayla Engelstad rounded out the varsity roster.

The boys took sixth place at the meet out of eight teams with 123 points. Mayer Lutheran won the meet with 57 points.

Alex Wischnack (17:28) was Central’s top runner, finishing third overall to take home a medal. Ben Barth (18:57), Chase Heuer (19:20), Devan Dvorak (19:20) and Cole Sauter (19:31) also scored, and Alex Kayser and Andrew Wischnack  also competed for the varsity.

“We ran well, but we weren’t focused on it. Our focus is Thursday at Battle Creek,” said Lagergren. “Some of the team went down Saturday and ran the course. It’ll just be whoever shows up to run that day. Hopefully we show up ready to run. I think we will. We’re just peaking for sections. Now it’s playoff season. We have a tough section, but we’ll be OK. It would be nice to advance some kids to the state meet, which we haven’t done in quite a few years. We just want to run well.”

Blake and Minnehaha Academy are two of the top teams in the section, and the Belle Plaine girls will also battle for the top spots, Lagergren said. The top two teams and the top eight individuals excluding those on the state-bound teams will qualify for the state meet.

“I think Alex has a shot. He’ll have to run a PR. If he can run a sub-17 he’ll have a real good shot. If Judy and Parry can run PRs, they’ll be in the mix too,” said Lagergren.

The Raiders are relatively healthy heading into the section meet, and Lagergren said the team has been working out with an eye toward the conference and section meets all season.

“We’re healthy and I think we’ll be ready to race. The problem is our section is just tough. But every section has some good athletes,” he said. “We’ll be OK. The kids are running well, they’re running hard. It just depends who shows up Thursday.”