Congratulations to the boys cross country team on their section championship run this afternoon. On a perfect afternoon for cross country the boys put in an excellent effort with all seven members running personal best times and securing the team title.
The race started conservatively over the first 1k with no runners willing to take the lead and press the pace, resulting in a solid mass of athletes stringing out across the course. The Lightning were lead by junior AJ Green and sophomore Gabe Mahlen who positioned themselves between 10th-15th place, while junior Sam Morgenstern was a little further back around 30th. The final four runners for the lightning (senior Jesse Laursen, senior Ben Danner, sophomore Sam Setterlund, and sophomore Colby Rubischko) started the race about 2/3 of the way back in the pack of runners.
Over the second thousand meters the race began to string out a little as some runners from other teams began to fall back through the pack. Green and Mahlen found themselves near the front of a chase pack consisting of runners 2-10 in the race, while Morgenstern was in a pack closely behind consisting of runners 11-17. Danner and Laursen began to steadily move through the throng of runners with Setterlund and Rubischko close on their heals. One of the goals for the Lightning going into the race was for these four to challenge other teams’ 4th and 5th runners, and by the 2k mark they had already moved ahead of other teams runners to put the Lightning in a solid position moving into the second half of the race.
From the 2k to the 4k mark Green and Mahlen took over the lead of their group and started to separate themselves from the competition, where, by the 4k mark, they were in 2nd and 3rd place overall with a 3-4 second lead on the pack. Morgenstern moved out in front of his pack during the race and found himself running isolated. Laursen and Setterlund continued to pick through the pack where by the 4k mark they were in approximately 20th position. Danner was a few spots back, and Rubischko a little further back yet.
Over the last thousand meters Green was able to close with a strong kick to secure a second place finish for the Lightning and becoming only the third runner in Eastiew history to break 16 minutes. Mahlen ran strong to finish, but was run down by a lone runner from behind to finish in 4th. However, his time of 16:08 is a new sophomore class record by 13 seconds. Morgenstern battled hard to the finish, coming in 11th place with a new PR of 16:31. Laursen and Setterlund had some tough competition over the last 1k, battling in a string of about 15 runners. They finished in 23rd and 24th place respectively, each running a new PR. Setterlund’s time of 16:54.4 ranks him as the 9th fastest sophomore in school history. Not to be outdone by his sophomore teammate, Rubischko put on a massive sprint over the final 600m of the race to close in a time of 17:03 which is the 13th fastest time run by a sophomore in school history. Danner finished just ahead of Rubischko in a time of 17:02 with a 15 second PR.
Thank you to all of the friends, family, alumni, and fans who made it out to support the Lightning, helping to make today a truly team win. Come and support the team as they compete at the state meet at St. Olaf College next Saturday, Nov. 3rd at 10 am.
For results of today’s meet please visit our schedule/results page.