PREVIEW: Central Minnesota River Run

The geographic center of Minnesota is located just a few miles from the Vintage Golf Course in Staples, a fact paid tribute to in the naming of Staples-Motley High School's home invitational. A total of fourteen teams will be competing today starting at 10:00 AM, where the weather will be beautiful for running thanks to clear skies and a 64 degree temperature. Buffalo and Detroit Lakes will highlight the Class AA competition, while the rest of the teams will represent Class A. But with the overall level of competition in this meet, a lot will be up in the air until well after the gun goes off.

On the boys side, the biggest thing to watch will be the early season performance of 3rd-ranked G-F-W. While Buffalo and Detroit Lakes are both very good schools among Class AA competition, G-F-W will be running step-by-step with them. According to our virtual meet projections, Buffalo ultimately does come out on top with a 46-point effort, but G-F-W comes in a solid second with 59, beating Detroit Lakes total of 72. Buffalo's team will be headed by the red-hot Isaac Basten, who made a name for himself during a very strong track season where he went 9:28 and 4:26. Those time definitely indicate his PR of 16:25 is not going to last long into the season. Basten's fellow junior and teammate Brett Hanson will be near the front of the competition as well thanks to his 16:42 PR, but perhaps the meet's most intriguing name in sandwiched right between them in the form of Staples-Motley freshman Emmett Anderson. With a career best time of 16:39, Anderson was an individual qualifier for the State Meet last year as a mere 8th-grader, so who knows what he is capable of in the near future?

On the girls side, Buffalo again is one of the favorites, but the virtual meet does not put them as the favorite. That title falls to the United North Central Warriors, who score 43 points to Buffalo's 55 to take the meet. UNC will be led by Class A's 9th-ranked individual Annika Aho, who comes in with a PR of 19:33, but she only has the third-best PR of the runners expected to compete. Buffalo's Amanda Montplaisir is the second-fastest thanks to her PR of 19:10, but the favorite in the competition is Class A's 5th-ranked individual, the freshman Kira Sweeney of Staple-Motley. Last year, Sweeney made it a habit of winning meets, taking victories in four of her competitions and ultimately finishing 7th in State, so she certainly will be the athlete to watch today at Vintage.