On this past Saturday's bright, sunny morning, many teams faced off at the Monticello Invitational at Bertram Regional Park. This was a challenging course, that made running fast times tough, but these athletes still put together impressive performances, and gave the crowd a great race to watch.
In the guys race, we knew going in that there would be multiple individuals that would have a very good chance at winning, as there wasn't a clear favorite, and that sure proved to be the case. Early on, a clear pack of two Sartell-Saint Stephen runners (Alex Nemeth and Ryan Fernholz) and two St. Michael Albertville runners (Jonah Breuer, and Carter Knaus) separated themselves from the field. The race stayed tight until the finish line, where Alex Nemeth and Jonah Breuer sprinted as fast as they could, going back and forth up until the finish line where Nemeth just pulled ahead to take the victory, with a time of 16:34.12, just half a second less than Breuer's 16:34.62. Knaus and Fernholz still finished well, with times of 16:42, and 16:49, respectively. Matthew Trutna of Big Lake also had a notable performance, running 16:51.
The team competition wasn't nearly as close as the individual competition. Sartell dominated, with just 28 points, and a 36-second split between their 1-5 runners. Sartell clearly showed that they deserve their top-ten ranking in the state. STMA also ran well, taking 2nd, but they were still 23 points back from Sartell. Sartell putting 6 runners in the top 11 should really be an eye opener across the state, do the Sabres deserve a ranking better than 10th? We will have to see how they fare against higher competition.
In the girls race, we witnessed STMA's Annalise Davis run a very impressive sub 19 5k, clocking in at 18:55 for the victory. Davis is currently ranked 7th in the state, and showed she belongs that high up with her performance. Two other impressive performances today came from two youngsters. Ingrid Buiceag-Arama, the freshman from Sartell, took 2nd with a time of 19:01, only 6 seconds behind Davis. Davis' teammate, Ali Weimer, also wasn't too far behind, running 19:03 for 3rd place as just an 8th grader in her first varsity race.
Just like the boys race, the team competition for the girls race was just dominated by one school. STMA won with just 29 points, and placed all 5 of their scoring runners in the top 10. Going into this week, STMA was not ranked in the state. As of Sunday morning, they are ranked 6th for this week, which they well deserve after their performance. Becker also ran a great race, taking 2nd with just 47 points. Annandale, the top-ranked team in Class A running their first meet of the year, took 5th with 119 points in what head coach Scott Massmann referred to as "a good wake-up call for us."