This afternoon, Red Wing High School will be hosting its eponymous invitational. The meet takes place right on their high school campus, and will feature a few teams and individuals looking to make a statement. With multiple teams at the lower end of the coaches rankings expected to attend, they'll be looking to show that they could be contenders at State in roughly a month. Times have traditionally been fairly quick here, and with temperatures expected to be in the low 60s, it will be a gorgeous day to race. With several runners starting to heat up, it should be an extremely exciting day of racing.
If anyone's on a roll, it's Roseville's Bergen Haag. She's fresh off a breakout win in the Milaca Mega Meet 4A race in a PR of 19:18, her first career cross country victory. However, she actually owns the 2nd fastest 5k time this season, trailing RAACHE's Madeline Perry, who has quietly been having a breakout season of her own, running two seconds faster and winning four races this year. Haag's teammate Samantha Kurkowski has also had an impressive season, with a 19:33 SB and has been remarkably consistent, running sub-20 in each of her races. Red Wing's duo of Ariana Mollgaard and Grace Johnson have both impressed with times in the 19s, but it's their teammate Tori Leitner that appears to be heating up. She's coming off a victory just three days ago at the New Prague Trojan Invitational. And another Winger, Grace Dube, finished 2nd to Leitner at New Prague. Lastly, don't sleep on Tiffany Holiday of Woodbury, who has had a strong year and qualified for the State 3200m in the spring. Red Wing's top four are unmatched, but 13th-ranked Roseville's overall depth has them projected to win the virtual meet in 41 points, just 5 more than Red Wing's 46, with East Ridge predicted to take 3rd. It will likely come down to the performance of Red Wing's 5th harrier to decide the battle, as their top four are projected to all place in the top ten.
On the boys side, expect the host school to dominate. Their top runner, Tom Nemanich, ran a PR of 16:17 to take the W at the New Prague Invitational on Tuesday. That time stands as the fastest run this year of any competitor, though East Ridge's Joseph Reimann, RAACHE's Josiah Eide, and Woodbury's Grant Wittman have all broken 16:40 this season. Pay particular attention to Reimann, who has been very consistent so far and placed in the top ten at the very deep 4A race at the Milaca Mega Meet. Expect there to be a large lead pack, as though Nemanich is the favorite, he's not the favorite by a large margin. Plenty of athletes are close in fitness, so it should be a very close race. Three other runners have broken 17:00 this year, those being Tucker Wallin of Red Wing, Caleb Jones of RAACHE, and Peter Michalowicz of Woodbury. Don't sleep on Asa Beckner of Red Wing either, as he ran 16:20 last year and appears to be finding his fitness again after starting the season somewhat slowly. In the virtual meet, 11th-ranked Red Wing is projected to put 6 runners in the top 13 en route to an easy victory, scoring a stellar 35 points. Woodbury and East Ridge are predicted to be in a close battle to see which school is the best in the city, as they're expected to take 2nd and 3rd in 79 and 83 points, respectively.