Despite intense humidity, competitors at the Lakeville Applejack Invitational put on many memorable performances. A course record was broken, and quick times were ran across the board. There were no major upsets, but results today showed who will likely be making an impact once when championship season arrives.
The girls race played out how most probably expected it to. Farmington's Anna Fenske gapped the field early, winning by nearly a minute. Running without the other half of Farmington's famed duo (Lauren Peterson sat out the race as she recovered from strep), Fenske's time of 18:07 broke Tess Misgen's meet record by 16 seconds, and bettered her time at this meet last year by 19 seconds. It was an impressive rebound after Fenske suffered back to back defeats at the Rosemount Irish Invitational and the Faribault Invitational, one that has her feeling in better shape than her 2016 State-winning season.
Brianne Brewster of Lakeville South continued her strong 2017 by finishing in 2nd, with a time of 19:04, a solid time considering that she's just been training through races so far. She's been remarkably consistent this season, and after running roughly the same time at three consecutive meets, it seems as though the 10th-ranked runner is on the verge of a breakthrough race. Freshman Jayda Becker ran well to take 4th to lead her Shakopee squad, while Elena Hayday of Jefferson and Maddie Hannan of Southwest placed in the top 10.
Edina's group of Macy Iyer, Katherine Berube, Madeline Lawler, Julianne Logan, and Sadie Schreiner also nabbed top 10 finishes, leading their squad to a dominant victory in 33 points, edging out Shakopee's 132 and Farmington's 140. While Edina wasn't facing any other ranked teams, this performance defnitely suggests that they're well on their way to win State for the third consecutive year. Their two top runners, Emily Kompelien and Maria Rickman, even sat this meet out, yet their teammates still won by 99 points. They're not only incredibly talented, but also extremely deep. And if Morgan Richter returns from injury this season and runs even somewhat close to her fitness last year, they'll have another huge weapon. They're likely on the right track to qualify for NXN yet again this fall.
The boys race provided just as much excitement, as Adam Wilkinson and his 4th-ranked Minnetonka squad were running with a little extra inspiration in them today. On Friday night, their longtime assistant coach and local running legend Steve Hoag tragically passed away, so they arrived at the line determined to get a win for him. That they did, as Wilkinson went out hard from the gun, sprinting to a 4:47 first mile and holding on for the win. He also bettered his brother Matt's winning time a year ago by a few seconds, giving him some bragging rights.
Following Wilkinson was Tom Breuckman of Andover, who just missed his goal of breaking 16:00 by 3 seconds. He received some votes in the 9/11 coaches' poll, so perhaps this performance could move him up into the rankings.
Taking 3rd was Eagan's Trenton Allen, who ran 16:25. He's also aiming for a sub-16 this season, along with a top 10 finish at State after finishing 13th in 2016. Wilkinson's teammate Beau Pullman and Kennedy's Lloyd Young rounded out the top 5, and Mickies Kiros of Central and Noah Revels of Farmington continued to have stellar sophomore seasons. Paul Breitbach, Macallister Karrick, and Max Lauerman also each finished in the top 10.
With four out of the first ten to cross the finish line, Minnetonka cruised to the victory in 42 points over Central's 103 and Farmington's 130. Minnetonka has looked strong this season, but being in Section 6AA, even making it to State is incredibly difficult. Though they haven't qualified in over 25 years, this might be their best chance to do so in recent memory. With US#4 Wayzata the obvious favorite, Minnetonka will be in contention for that second spot.
And St. Paul Central as a whole had a solid day, but even now they still haven't been quite as good as they could be. Mickies Kiros has been a consistent lowstick, and for most of the season Michael Smith has been their reliable number two. Kalid Ali had a breakout race at Lakeville, breaking 17 minutes for the first time, so with improvement and consistency from their 4-5 men, Central might has a chance to move onto the rankings.