This afternoon, the Raiders of Hastings High School will be hosting their Minnaert Invitational. The race will feature plenty of high caliber talent from Class AA, and has historically witnessed some fairly fast times. The course is located in St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park, a scenic setting right on the St. Croix River. It begins near the parking lot, heading south into the park before looping through woods, before emerging and following the path they went in on out to the finish.Temperatures will be around 70ºF, and partly cloudy, but with plenty of coverage, it should be a fairly pleasant day to race.
The boys race should be thrilling to watch, as a staggering 14 athletes broke 17 minutes over 5k last season. The individual favorite will be Trenton Allen of Eagan, who took 13th at the State meet a year ago. Though Allen holds the fastest 5k PR, teammates Asa Beckner, Bryan Zucker, and Tom Nemanich of Red Wing are close behind, and will be working together to place as high as possible for their team. Joseph Reimann of East Ridge broke 16:30 in 2016, while Matsola Bein of Burnsville ran 16:35, so they'll be up front as well. The host school's duo of Crimzon Anderson and freshman Griffin Myers could be in the running, and will aim to race well for the home crowd. Lastly, watch out for Mickies Kiros of St. Paul Central, who has shown strong improvement from last season, including running 16:50 already. He'll look to lead his Central teammates to the team title. With four athletes who have broken 17 minutes, Central could have a chance to take down the favorites, 12th-ranked Red Wing. It'll be a tough battle though, as Red Wing has incredible depth: their entire top 7 ran 17:07 or better last season. That depth has them winning the virtual meet in 45 points, over Central's 78, with Woodbury, East Ridge, and Northfield rounding out the top 5.
On the girls side, one team looks to stand out from the rest. The individual favorites should be Red Wing teammates Grace Johnson and Jasmyn Armstrong. Though Armstrong had a down race at the St. Olaf Showcase, look for her to rebound, as she ran 18:50 a year ago. Johnson ran 18:39 in 2016, and recently took 12th at St. Olaf, so she appears to be in very impressive shape. Abby Witte of East Ridge, Olivia Witt of St. Croix Prep, and Red Wing's Tori Leitner also all broke 19:30 last season, so they should be in contention for the win. Keep an eye out for Woodbury's sophomore Tiffany Holiday, as she qualified for the State 3200m in the spring. Sophia Rabins of Central and Grace Dube of Red Wing also broke 20 minutes last season, and Dube's teammate Ariana Mollgard has shown major improvement after breaking 20 for the first time in her career at St. Olaf. It can be seen in the amount of Red Wing athletes mentioned above how strong this team really is. They're currently ranked 10th in the state, and with a projected 4 in the top 6, they win the virtual meet with ease in a minuscule 30 points. Chasing the Wingers will be East Ridge, who's projected to finish 2nd with 85 points, followed by Northfield, Central, and Eagan.