This afternoon, Montevideo High School will be hosting their annual home meet. The race will be run at The Crossings at Montevideo, a golf course bordering the Minnesota River, making for a very scenic view. Last year's race witnessed some very slow times, as only one boy broke 17:30, while only two girls broke 20:00, one of them being the now-graduated three-time All-State runner Claire Boersma. Don't expect quicker times this year, as rain from Monday evening and early this morning should dampen the course, though by race time the forecast is for temperatures in the mid 60s with sun. Regardless, it should be an exciting day of racing as Southwest Minnesota teams battle it out in Montevideo.
The boys competition hinges on a big if: if Keiser Freetly of Lac Qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd races, he will be the heavy favorite. He's currently ranked 3rd in Class A and ran a PR less than a week ago, clocking 16:12 at the Yellow Medicine East Invite. While his team is competing, Freetly didn't race here last year. Neither did his teammate, Mikey Kvaal, who is one of just two other athletes that have broken 17:00 this season, and will be likely at the front of the chase pack if he runs. The third is Marshall's Zach Matzner, who has made a strong sophomore leap to emerge as Marshall's #1 runner. Matzner won last week's Redwood Valley Invite. His teammate Noah Versaevel has also had a strong season, running 17:01 so far. Benson/KMS's Jonathan Tostenson and Lac Qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd's Ezekiel Sather have also each broken 17:30 in 2017, so expect them to be in the mix. On the team side, assuming Lac Qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd runs their full squad, the 2nd-ranked team in Class A is projected to win in 36 points, just barely edging Marshall's 38 points. In last year's race, Lac Qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd's top runners didn't run here, so we'll have to wait to see if we'll get a glimpse of their deep squad, and get to witness such a close matchup.
In the girls race, it's all about Marshall. At last year's Montevideo Invite, Marshall swept the top five spots, earning the victory in a perfect score of 15. Though they lost Boersma, Class AA's 8th-ranked squad will look to do some damage again in 2017. In the virtual meet, they are projected to take 5 of the top 6 spots. Their quartet of Morgan Radel, Natalee Sample, Nichole Sample, and Kaia Sueker have the four fastest season best times. Each of them has broken 19:30, so it will likely be a battle between these teammates to decide the winner of the race. Though their 5th runner Bellamy Sukalski has a slightly slower season best of 20:13, but that time is still strong enough to be the 6th fastest in the entire field. If Marshall wishes to earn another perfect score, Sukalski will have to beat Jordan Sterud of Lac Qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd. She holds a 19:49 season best, and is the only athlete not from Marshall to have broken 20:00 on the year. However, one runner alone cannot take down a whole team, and Marshall is projected to run away with the team victory in 16 points, holding off Lac Qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd, the 10th-ranked team in Class A, who's expected to earn 51 points for 2nd place.