Location: Spring Brook Golf Course, Mora
The Skinny: Considering that Mora is currently ranked ninth in Class A, it may surprise some people to see they only hold a seven-point advantage over their section rivals from Annandale. But it may not be as surprising once you consider that Annandale took runner-up honors to Mora in the only time they have faced each other this season, at the 20-team Peirz Pioneer Invitational a month ago. Mora did have a convincing win (scoring 68 points compared to Annandale's 118), but Annandale's spread was just 48 seconds, and they are also coming off a breakout race in Litchfield where nearly their whole team ran season bests. It's possibly they could have seriously cut that gap, and if they finish near Mora, or even manage to beat the, they would be in a serious discussion to be ranked. But one thing Mora has that Annandale can't compete with is one of the top individual talents in Class A. Ranked in the top six the whole season, Cooper Lennox should be considered the strong favorite on his home course, and just achieved his biggest win of the season at Swain where he overcame muddy conditions to run a season-best. Nels Trandahl and Michael Miller also own sub-17 times, but neither have broken that barrier since the Maple Lake Invite back in August, so the battle behind him could belong to Tommy Ryan and Payton Lund.
The Skinny: Eighth-ranked Maple Lake has been having a very successful season ever since their first race, and they have been in the top ten of the Class A polls all year. They have also won the head-to-head matchups with their closest competition (Mora and Annandale) every time they have faced them this year, and have done so fairly convincingly, so their position as the favorite in this meet looks pretty secure. That said, Mora was also ranked very recently, and Annandale finished 3rd at State last year and returned most of their lineup, so they really could break out at any time. But if Annandale is to make any sort of strong move in this race, it will likely depend on Emma Fashant getting the individual victory. Fashant took tenth at State last year, but had not broken 20 minutes in 2018 until her last race at Litchfield, where she also beat the girl who could be her closest challenger, Sophie Pribyl. Alaina Steele could also be a factor near the top of this race too, as she's been in the top nine of every race she's run this year.
(written by Mark Rice)