Preview: Canby Late Night Invite

This Friday evening, the Canby-Minneota cross country team will be hosting one the most unique cross country meets of the year. Unlike most races, the Canby Late Night Invitational is run at night, with races starting at 7:00PM. Spectators are even encouraged to bring flashlights! The course runs throughout Canby Golf Course, and it's not notably fast or slow. The majority of the teams come from southwestern Minnesota (Community Christian School of Willmar, Lakeview, MACCRAY/RCW, Marshall, Murray County Central, Ortonville, Pipestone Area, Redwood Valley, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, Worthington, Yellow Medicine East), though Sioux Falls Washington of South Dakota will also be making the trip up to Canby. Weather projects to be to be right around 70ºF with high humidity. There's also a decent chance of scattered thunderstorms, which could make the golf course muddy and slow, especially as it gets ripped up as the meet goes on.

Meet Schedule:
JH Girls (7-8) 2000m - 7:00PM
JH Boys (7-8) 2000m - 7:00PM
JV Girls 5000m - 7:15PM*
JV Boys 5000m 7:45PM*
Varsity Girls 5000m - 8:15PM
Varsity Boys 5000m - 8:45PM
*Note: JV races may be combined, depending on weather and numbers.

The individual competition appears to be between three frontrunners. Among the boys, seniors Yonas Sadi of Sioux Falls Washington, Anthony Wollum of Canby/Minneota, and Noah Versaevel of Marshall have the strongest resumes. Sadi has run 16:35 for 5k, slightly faster than the 16:37 All-State runner Wollum posted last year, and Versaeval's run 16:46. Expect to see these three at the front of the pack.

On the girls' side, Marshall teammates Natalee Sample and Kaia Sueker have both dipped under 18:30 over 5k, placing them as the favorites. Sample and Sueker will likely pull away and set the pace from the gun, as their PRs are nearly a minute faster than any other athlete attending. But the 7th-ranked Class A runner Morgan Gehl of MCC can't be counted out quite yet, so look for her to try to challenge.

From a team standpoint, the boys squad from the out-of-state visitors Sioux Falls Washington seems to have the edge. In a virtual meet using last season's 5k bests, the South Dakota school places 4 inside the top 6 to win with 28 points, 30 ahead of Marshall's total.

In the girls' team battle, the 7th ranked (in Class AA) Marshall squad is the heavy favorite. They win the virtual meet with a near perfect score of 16 points to Sioux Falls Washington's 76, and all five of their projected scoring athletes have PRs under 20 minutes for a 5k.