This past Thursday, some great teams and athletes went head to head at the Bauman/Rovn Invitational, head at the very popular, yet feared, Gale Woods Farm. These athletes were welcomed by temperatures in the mid 70s, and sunshine. Many teams and athletes stepped up unexpectedly, which will give them some serious confidence as they get into a regular 5k racing schedule.
With Minnetonka holding out their top guys, that made the day a lot easier for Buffalo's Isaac Basten as he didn't have to worry about Adam Wilkinson. Basten ran a great race, taking home the individual title with a time of 16:08. Basten winning this race puts him in elite territory. Since 2012, every male runner who has won the Bauman/Rovn invitational (Obsa Ali, Joe Klecker (x2), Owen Hoeft, Seth Eliason) has gone on to compete at NXN, either as an individual or with their team, later in their high school career. That gives you an idea of how good the competition typically is at this race.
Chanhassen's Nick Scheller closed the race well, and finished 2nd at 16:17, only 9 seconds. The big surprise of the day was Prior Lake's Nick Kartschoke, taking 3rd overall at 16:34, 33 seconds faster than his previous PR of 17:07.
In the team competition, Eden Prairie performed at a very high level once again, taking 1st with 83 points. A standout performer for EP was Jack Larson, who had a huge, 49 second PR, taking 6th place. Now having won two meets in a row, the Eagles have shown that they are a contenders in the battle to make state out of Section 6AA. However, they have not faced fellow section powerhouses Wayzata and Edina yet, so they still have a lot to prove (which can only provide more fuel to their fire this season). Edina ran their JV team, and still finished 5th, which shows how deep they are this year, so taking them down will be a tough task. Other notable team performances came from 8th-ranked Chanhassen, taking 2nd with 96 points, and a great team performance by Hopkins, taking 3rd with 99 points. Considering the quality of competition they faced and how close they came to beating the, Hopkins may have just made a statement that they deserve a ranking.
In the girls race, the absence of Minnetonka's Sophie Whicher opened up some opportunities for individuals aiming to win the race, as well as teams who were trying to win. Eden Prairie's Liesl Paulsen ran a phenomenal race, taking 1st with a time of 18:46, and beating the next closest finisher by 15 seconds. Not only did she shatter her PR set nearly two full years ago, but Paulsen took down 3 girls who were all ranked in the top 12 of state going into this race. (Malaki Holloway, Brianne Brewster, and Libby Halbmaier) Brewster finished 2nd with a time of 19:01, and Halbmaier took 3rd, clocking in at 19:05
As for the team side of things, the Marshall girls made a huge statement. With a dominating performance of 57 points, 23 more than Willmar, Marshall showed that they may be a little under ranked at 5th in Class AA. Even granting that Minnetonka was missing Whicher, Marshall may have still won even if the Skippers did have her run. This race was an eye opener for girls teams across the state, as Marshall's performance will put them into the conversation as a legitimate title contender this season. Willmar also ran a solid race, even if it wasn't up to the performance of Marshall, they still raced well, and showed that they are certainly a top 5 team team in the state.