Decent rain throughout the days leading up to this Saturday's Academy of Holy Angels Invitational set the stage for a tough day of cross country. Despite the less than ideal conditions, there were plenty of solid performances to open up competition for the 2017 season. At this meet, all races are 3k, serving as a warmup in the transition to running 5ks.
There were no major upsets in the boys' varsity race, but it proved to be an exciting finish nonetheless. Forest Lake junior Charlie Babcock took the lead early, and led wire to wire as he took the victory in 9:59.9, making him the only athlete to break 10 minutes on the day. It was an impressive performance for Babcock, who has struggled with some ailing injuries in the recent past.
Teammate Will Valentin started the race right on Babcock's shoulder, and though Babcock would break away, Valentin would hold on for 2nd place after outkicking fellow Forest Lake runner Adam Stenning. The 1-2-3 finish would propel Forest Lake to an easy victory, scoring 19 points to Benilde-St. Margaret's 64. They'll be gunning for another State berth, and perhaps this win will move them up the rankings.
The girls' varsity race featured an exciting two person duel, along with a single team dominating the competition. From the gun, there were only ever a few in contention, and by the halfway point of the race, two runners had separated themselves from the field: Tracy Renier of Benilde-St. Margaret, and Margaret Dalseth of Visitation.
Renier would outlast Dalseth with a devastating final 400m, taking the victory by a margin of 7 seconds, a reversal of roles after Dalseth outkicked Renier to beat her by 2 seconds a year ago. The win was an impressive rebound from an iron deficiency suffered by Renier in 2016. Dalseth would earn runner up honors, and would shortly be followed by a trio of her teammates. That pack would lead Visitation to an easy win, scoring 30 points to eclipse the 75 scored by Providence.