Last week, the Mayer Lutheran/Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity boys’ and girls’ cross country teams got a taste of a wide variety of state competition, first competing at Waconia’s annual Run of the Lakes on Sept. 17, and then competing in the Milaca Mega Meet over the weekend.
At Waconia, both Crusader squads finished ninth of 10 teams in the field. The boys collected 218 points behind team champion Delano (35), to defeat Heritage Christian (244).
Senior Brandon Duffy led the way for LHS with an eighth place finish in 17:21.9, over two minutes ahead of the rest of the LHS runners.
Alex Mielke finished 49th overall in 19:32.8, while Wyatt Entinger crossed the line third for the Crusaders in 53rd position (19:59.6). Parker Esterberg (20:21.0) was 60th and Todd Johnson finished 68th (21:30.7).
For the girls, Emilie Berry and Karlea Kyllo both crossed the line in the top 10, with Berry in eighth (17:01.7) and Kyllo in tenth (17:23.6).
Harley Hentges and Clara Leverich crossed the line close together in 65th and 66th place. With a time of 21:30.6, Hentges bested Leverich by two seconds (21:32.7). Grace Dietrich also competed for LHS and crossed the line in 69th position in 22:46.7. The girls’ team finished ninth overall with 204 points, over Sibley East (219). Waconia took the girls’ title with 42 points.
Up in Milaca on Sept. 21, the Crusaders competed in what is the largest high school cross country meet in the world, according to LHS/LP/HT head coach Rob Weber, with over 120 teams represented this year.
The Mayer Lutheran boys finished 23rd of 31 complete teams in the 5,000 meter race. Duffy was the top finisher for LHS in 15th position (17:24). Mielke was 119th in 20 minutes flat, while Ben Quiram was 157th in 21:22. Johnson finished one place and one second ahead of Quiram in 156th at 21:21.
Seth Pauna improved his time by almost a minute, falling to 21:49 for 167th position. Johnny Bones rounded out LHS finishing 190th, of 221 runners, in 26:02.
Every girl competing for Mayer Lutheran ran her best time of the season at Milaca, beginning with Berry, who finished 24th in 16:17. Kyllo wasn’t far behind in 34th in 16:49, claiming her first under 17 minute time. Both earned ribbons for their finishes.
Leverich ran her first sub-20 minute race in 19:44 to finish 143rd. Hentges (21:02) and Dietrich (21:20) both improved to finish 160th and 165th in the pack of 209 runners.
In the eighth grade race, Andrew Jackson completed the 3,200 meter course in 13:39. Jackson placed 136th out of 319 runners. Parker Bayerl ran the 3,200 meter seventh grade race and finished in 15:35, good enough for 220th of 324 competitors.
The following week brought the Crusaders to Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted on Sept. 26, where the warmer and windier day led to generally slower times across the board.
The varsity boys finished fourth of six teams, led by Duffy, who finished fourth in 18:23. Esterberg finished 13th, posting a season-best 20:07. Entinger was 17th overall in 20:36, followed by Quiram in 25th (21:54), Johnson in 26th (22:42), and Pauna in 27th (22:49).
For the junior varsity, Jackson was 14th (23:39), Bones was 24th (25:32), and Gareth Holland debuted in 31st at 28:28.
LHS was represented by just four girls, an incomplete team. Hentges was missing from action, having injured her ACL and will be out the rest of the season.
Berry led most of the race, according to LHS head coach Rob Weber, but couldn’t hold on at the end, but still finished second in 16:34. Kyllo was fifth overall in 17:59. Leverich (22nd, 21:59) and Dietrich (24th, 22:39) also competed.
Weber said the HLWW meet is unique because they have a grades 5-8 junior high race option.
“We invited some junior high runners, and did they run,” he said.
Bayerl was 13th overall in the boys’ 7-8 race, while Kayla DeYounge finished 4th in the girls’ division. Myranda Hentges, Ashley Forcier, and Grace Miller finished 2-3-5 in the girls’ 5-6 race, while the boys swept the top four places. Evan Lee was first, followed by Zach Johnson, Wyatt Berry, and Garrett Berry.
Next week, the Crusaders will return to Baylor Park in Norwood Young America on the 10th of October.
Contact Melissa Marohl at [email protected]