This past Thursday, runners had to deal with brutal heat in the high 80s at the Rum River Invitational, hosted by Anoka High School. On what is normally a very fast course, these conditions played a huge factor, slowing times down, and making it much harder overall for these runners. However, there were still many impressive performances worth noting.
The varsity boys were the first runners of the day to go against the heat. Taking the victory was Mounds View's Austin Streit, who broke away fairly early in the race, and coasted in, with a time of 16:26. Behind him was a battle for 2nd, between his teammate Lukas Hessini, and St. Paul Highland Park's Oliver Paleen. Paleen kicked it in during the final stretch to take 2nd with 16:35, a mere two seconds ahead of Hessini's 16:37. But the only other runner under 17 minutes that day was St. Michael-Albertville's Jonah Breuer in 16:57. These runners are definitely faster than the times that they posted on Thursday, but the heat can really take it's toll on runners in a 5k race.
In the team competition, Mounds View put together a very impressive showing, with just 30 points, 28 more than 2nd place Highland Park. The Mustangs did this even with David Dahl having an off day, struggling to a 44th-place finish in 18:37. If Dahl gets back up there with Streit and Hessini, the sky is the limit for Mounds View. As good as the Mustangs did, Highland Park put together a very impressive showing with their 2nd place finish, and that should leave them excited for what's ahead. Also worth noting is Robbinsdale Armstrong's 3rd place finish, who are well on their way to establishing themselves as one of the favorites to win the Northwest Suburban Conference.
It was a bittersweet day for St. Michael Albertville in the ladies competition. As it was exciting to see 8th-grader Ali Weimer take home the victory, the main focus was on the health of Annalise Davis, STMA's top runner who had to drop out near the end of the race due to the heat. Davis' teammates said later that she had been feeling better, walking around, and generally doing well. The end of the girls race was exciting for the fans to watch, as Weimer pulled ahead of Highland Park's fellow 8th-grader Molly Moening right at the end to secure the victory in a battle between two of the state's top young talents. Weimer's time officially was 19:11.97, less than a second ahead of Moening's 19:12.37 finishing time.
Despite Davis not being able to finish the race, STMA still dominated, putting 5 runners in the top 12. With Minnetonka withdrawing from the meet as a precaution with the unsavory forecast, STMA had just 38 points, finishing 46 points ahead of Highland Park, who was 2nd. Currently ranked 6th in Class AA, the Knights have proven that they are one of the top teams in the state, and have shown that they have a legitimate chance to make the podium at the state meet, especially when Annalise Davis is fully healthy. Another team with a solid finish was White Bear Lake, taking 3rd with 101 points.