The biggest day of the year for Minnesota Cross Country is nearly upon us, and while it is so tempting to focus all our attention on the drama and glamour and national buzz surrounding the Roy Griak Invitational, the two thousand high school runners that compete yearly pale in comparison to the field of nearly six thousand that congregate to compete each year at the Stones Throw Golf Course. Lauded as the largest high school cross country meet in the world, the Milaca Mega Meet is now it its 47th year of existence, meaning that the number of runners who have competed there can be numbered in the hundreds of thousands. As the entire town of Milaca has a population of under three thousand, between runners, coaches, officials, and spectators,on this day the population nearly quadruples. The spectacle almost needs to be seen to be believed.
10:00 8th Grade Boys 3200 meters
10:15 7th grade Boys 3200 meters
10:30 8th Grade Girls 3200 meters
10:45 7th Grade Girls 3200 meters
11:00 10th grade boys. 5000 meters
11:15 9th Grade Boys 5000 meters
11:30 10th Grade Girls 5000 meters
11:45 9th Grade Girls 5000 meters
12:00 Varsity A Girls 5000 meters
12:15 Varsity AA Girls. 5000 meters
12:30 Varsity AAA Girls 5000 meters
12:45 Varsity AAAA Girls 5000 meters
1:00 Varsity A Boys 5000 meters
1:15 Varsity AA Boys 5000 meters
1:30 Varsity AAA Boys 5000meters
1:45 Varsity AAAA Boys 5000 meters
2:00 JV Boys 5000 meters
2:15 JV Girls. 5000 meters
2:40 Alumni race 3200 meters
With 18 races scheduled to be run, each beginning precisely 15 minutes after one another, the meet doesn't actually take much longer than a normal meet. In comparison to Griak where the 10 scheduled races are spread over 8 hours, Milaca's 18 races ought to be completed in under 5 hours. The course has been altered a few times over the years, but the current configuration is is what has been used for the past ten years. After a loop around a small grove of trees a couple hundred meters from the start line, the runners then run twice around a larger loop before meandering their way into the far reaches of the golf course, after that taking a straight shot the last four hundred meters to the finish. While the course is fairly flat, there are a number of areas with small rises and drops and a few sections of rolling terrain. The runners will cross over three different wood bridges a total of five times. Historically, the course has featured firm footing and been the home to fast times, but all bets are off when the weather decides to play games.
Well, this is one of those years that the weather has decided it wanted to muck things up a bit. While tomorrow's temperatures will be alright, hovering in the low-to-mid 70's (although with high humidity), the threat of thunderstorms looms over the meet and could alter the schedule. Thankfully, at this moment, the heavy rains are not expected to begin until after the last race is completed, but that forecast is obviously subject to change, and will be watch closely leading up to and throughout the meet.
Varsity Trophy and Medal presentations:
12:45 Varsity A Girls
1:00 Varsity AA Girls
1:15 Varsity AAA Girls
1:30 Varsity AAAA Girls
1:45 Varsity A Boys
(No awards will be given during JV or Old Timers Races)
3:00 Varsity AA Boys
3:05 Varsity AAA Boys
3:10 Varsity AAAA Boys
3:15 Co-Ed team trophies for A-AA-AAA-AAAA Awards
As for the competition itself, as the name implies, it is massive. This year, 156 teams are registered to compete, of which all but five are from Minnesota. Nearly twenty ranked teams and individuals between both Class A and Class AA are expected to be competing, including the storied powerhouse team from Stillwater. There will be thrilling competition, upsets, disappointments, and elation at every moment of the day. And Milesplit MN will be there to record it all.
So without further ado, read on and see what you can expect from each of the four varsity classes tomorrow!
*Note: The following projections and analysis was made assuming each team would run their top seven athletes in the varsity races. We know that will not be the case in every instance, and many underclassmen will run in their grade level races, which will throw off our analysis.