Matt Steiger And Courtney West Tuning Up For Milaca In Lake City


This afternoon, Lake City High School will be hosting its self-named invitational. This meet serves as a sort of warmup for Griak/Milaca this weekend. While it isn't huge, some of the top teams in Class A are expected to be in attendance, so the level of competition will surely be top notch. The race takes place at Hok-Si-La Park in Lake City, and the course has seen some quick times in the recent past. Last year's meet featured two athletes breaking 16 minutes, and solid times in the low 19s in the girls race. It may be a little warmer than ideal, as at race time, it's projected to be sunny and in the mid 70s. Nonetheless, this meet will add even more excitement to an already stacked week of racing.

Schedule:
4:30 Junior High boys and Girls (2 mile)
4:55 Junior Varsity boys and Girls (5k)
5:35 Varsity Girls (5k)
6:15 Varsity Boys (5k)

In the boys race, there's an extremely heavy favorite. La Crescent's Matt Steiger, ranked 2nd in the state, has been absolutely dominating the 2017 season. He ran 15:53, a new 5k PR, in his first race, and took down Wabasha-Kellogg's Nick Meyer by 29 seconds at the "Crazy Buffalo" Invitational. Meyer, who took 16th at State last fall, will be looking to eliminate that deficit. He ran a solid 16:18 3-mile at La Crescent, but finished a disappointing 23rd in 17:50 in the heat of the Rochester Mayo Invitational, so look for him to rebound from that race here. Other than Meyer and Steiger, no other runner has broken 17 minutes yet this year (Meyer's 3-mile converts to a 16:52 5k, and he ran 16:28 in 2017). Axel Daood of St. Charles has come the closest, running 17:07 in August, so he has a decent chance to eclipse that barrier today. Isaiah Scruggs of Stewartville and Isaac Threinen of Kasson-Mantorville/Triton have broken 17:30 this season, so they too could be in the front pack. Kasson-Mantorville/Triton, a school that runs cross country in Class AA, is projected to win the virtual meet in 41 points, thanks to their incredible 24.70s 1-5 spread. They're predicted to be followed by La Crecent's 74 and Austin's 88. With an essentially guaranteed single point from Steiger, with a big day from their 2-5, they could pull the upset.

The girls race, like the boys, appears to be top heavy. Kasson-Mantorville/Triton's Courtney West took 2nd in the State Class A 3200m this spring, and has clocked off three consecutive victories to open her 2017 season. This win will be a tough one to earn though, as Stewartville's dynamic duo of Kailee Malone and Abby Orvis have been strong this year, with each owning multiple sub-20 performances. In last year's Lake City Invite, Abigail Lewis of Austin finished in 3rd, sandwiched between the Stewartville duo. Lewis has run consistently under 20:00 for the past few years, so she should likely record her first sub-20 effort of 2017 this afternoon. And another Stewartville runner, Isabel Field, has run the 5th fastest 5k time this season of expected competitors. However, of the top 20 athletes at last year's race, NONE graduated, so expect an even better race than last year. 5th-ranked Stewartville is expected to cruise to the victory off of their impressive depth, taking just 30 points in the virtual meet. It will be an incredibly tight race for 2nd, as the 2-6 teams are projected to be within 31 points of each other. So keep an eye out for the battle between Dover-Eyota, Austin, Lake City, Byron, and Kasson-Mantorville/Triton.

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