The boys cross country team finished first at today’s section cross country championships avenging their narrow loss at the conference championship 13 days ago. It was a bright and brisk day at Valley Wood Golf Course this afternoon, the first day all season where the course hasn’t been either a) underwater or b) the temperature hot enough to bake a cake. The result was a new school record for senior AJ Green, the sixth fastest performance in school history for senior Sam Morgenstern, and four new entrants to the sub 17 min club in juniors Colby Rubischko, Sam Setterlund, and sophomores Hunter Dunne and Nate Getman.
The Lightning started off today’s race a little more aggressively than the conference championship, trying to prevent themselves from getting squeezed by the field as they condensed down into a line of runners over the first 400m. After the first 800m Green was running off of the leaders, and Morgenstern and junior Gabe Mahlen were running in approximately 20th place. Eastview’s remaining four runners were in a group, only back another 10-20 runners. This resulted in the Lightning being positioned near the front of the race throughout its entirety.
As the Lightning came through the 2k mark of the race Green had established himself amongst a lead trio of runners, while Mahlen was at the lead of the chase pack and Morgenstern at the back of the chase pack. Setterlund and Rubischko were about 20m back, with Dunne and Getman another 30m back. By this point in the race the field at the front of the race had thinned to a smattering of runners from various schools with only Eastview, Prior Lake having strongly established all five runners in the lead group, although Eagan was not far off. The race would be determined by which team could have their top 5 endure the longest.
As the race moved into the third k, the different packs of runners that had been getting smaller throughout the first half of the race fell apart all together and now became battles of individuals competing as a long line of runners. At the front of this string was AJ Green who was itching to take the lead as his trio of leaders fell to a duo. Morgenstern had moved himself into a top 10 position by this point in the race with Mahlen a few paces behind. Setterlund and Rubischko were in danger of losing contact with their string of runners as small gaps started to form in front of them.
With 1,000m left in the race Green had moved into the lead and began pushing the pace, testing his competition. Green quickly discovered that his competition had no answer for his moves and pulled away becoming Eastview’s first ever section champion while besting his old school record with a time of 15:33.9. Morgenstern battled up the final hill of the race, clearly exerting his full effort to maintain contact with the top few runners, to Morgenstern’s relief, after an uphill was a downhill and he was able to use his footspeed to pick off gassed runners up front to finish in 7th place with a 24 sec PR (16:07.5) and the 6th fastest time in school history (0.1 sec away from the 5th fastest). Mahlen put in a strong effort to finish in 16th place, battling ever tightening muscles in his back to run a 16:24.3 – his 3rd fastest race ever, despite the back spasms.
Setterlund and Rubischko looked strong coming through the 4k mark. Running with confident strides, not wasting any energy swaying side to side or looking around, they were able to close back in on the string of runners that had threatened to drop them during the previous k and move up on Mahlen finishing in 16:31.3 and 16:29.9 for 20th and 19th place respectively.
Dunne and Getman ran within a few seconds the entire race, using the third k to close back in on Setterlund and Rubischko, so with only 1k left they were withing striking distance of finishing in the top 5. And, although they did not have quite enough left in the tank to outpace their teammates they did outpace most of the rest of the field, finishing better than every other schools #4 runners (and nearly even every other team’s #3 runner) save for two other teams, despite being Eastview’s number 6 and 7 men on the day. Both sophomores broke 17 minutes for the first time today, finishing in 16:40.2 and 16:43.4 respectively.
A special congratulations to junior Miranda Kerndt and eighth grader Emily Percival from the girls’ program who both qualified for the state meet and will be competing along with the boys team on the morning of Saturday, November 2nd at St. Olaf college in Northfield. Come and support your Lightning runners!
For complete results please visit our schedule/results page