Over A Dozen Meets Make Up Massive Day Of Racing

PREVIEW

Buffalo Bison CC Invitational

Location: Buffalo Heights Golf Course, Buffalo, MN

Weather: Low 60s, cloudy

BOYS

Virtual Meet Projection: Buffalo (57), Rogers (62), Saint Michael-Albertville (66), Waconia (97), Becker (101)

Top Individuals: Carter Knaus (STMA, 15:57), Nick Oak (Buffalo, 16:24), Ethan Anderson (Rogers, 16:29), Basil Ricker (Becker, 16:31), Alexander Heidorn (Rogers, 16:37), Thomas Glad (Rogers, 16:46)

The Skinny: Last year's champion, 8th ranked Isaac Basten, will sit this one out to prepare for the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, but his 7th ranked Buffalo squad is still projected to take the win without him. They will likely be led by junior Nick Oak, who has the second fastest PR in the field. Closely behind Buffalo should be Rogers, who have Ethan Anderson, Alexander Heidorn, and Thomas Glad all in the top 6 fastest in the field. They are looking to improve off a 4th place team finish at this event last season. STMA comes in a close third, and they are led by senior Carter Knaus, who has shown incredible improvement over the last couple seasons. He is due for a PR this year, as he is yet to surmount his 15:57 from the speedy Nike Heartland course. Teammate Jonah Breuer will also be in the mix for a top ten finish, as he is their only other competitor with a sub-17 minute PR. STMA has both this meet and the Griak on their schedule, so it's unknown whether or not they'll race both or just their top athletes on Saturday. Waconia and Becker fill out the top five finishing teams. Something you'll definitely want to keep an eye on is the performance of eighth-grader Kade Layton from Big Lake High School. He never ran the 5k distance as a seventh grader and has yet to compete on the track (according to our archives), but this year after a couple mid 18 minute performances he dropped a ridiculous 16:59. This might've been the product of a short course or perfect conditions, but for a middle schooler to be running that fast so early deserves credit no matter what. Look to see if he can back up that race on Thursday.

GIRLS

Virtual Meet Projection: Saint Michael-Albertville (23), Minnetonka (76), Becker (95), Waconia (112), Monticello (118)

Top Individuals: Ali Weimer (STMA, 17:49), Annalise Davis (STMA, 18:37), Annalise Johnson (Minnetonka, 18:41), Katie Sigerud (STMA, 18:53), Kaleesa Houston (Waconia, 18:55), Lexi Dehmer (Becker, 19:00), Jessica Immer (STMA, 19:01)

The Skinny: 3rd ranked (and 24th ranked nationally) STMA will likely not race their top girls at Buffalo, as they are scheduled for Roy Griak on Saturday. If not, 4th ranked individual Ali Weimer should win handily, and the team would score a meager 23 points. Minnetonka historically keeps their girls off of difficult courses, so expect them to run all of their top athletes. Annalise Johnson has the third fastest PR in the field, and the fastest if you disregard STMA's girls. Minnetonka has dropped out of the rankings recently, so as a team they will be looking to make a statement over Becker, Waconia, and Monticello, the 3rd-5th projected teams, respectively. Another individual to keep tabs on will be Kaleesa Houston, who was one place off of all-state last November. She has already gotten within 10 seconds of her lifetime PR, so expect her to continue to shave off more time and be a threat in the postseason. Danielle Nuest, an eighth grader like Kade Layton, has a top ten PR in the field of 19:06. She ran this time at the Big Lake Battle last week, and it was over a minute faster than her best from 2017. If STMA holds out their athletes, she has a solid chance to take the individual win, and could make a big statement in doing so.

(Written by Adam Wilkinson)


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