PREVIEW: Tiger Invitational

This afternoon, Minneapolis South will be hosting their annual Tiger Invitational. The race is set to be run on the campus of St. Catherine University, which has already served as the grounds for two meets so far this year. The picturesque 5k course consists of two 2.5k loops. Each loop begins around the edge of campus before cutting in, circling a pond, and winding through the woods before finishing around the tennis courts. There's a chance of rain on the day, though it will more likely be in the upper 70s and partly cloudy around racetime. Races begin in the middle of the afternoon, causing temperatures to be relatively high. This meet features many City Conference teams, along with a mixture of schools from the suburbs. Programs attending include Burnsville, Roosevelt, Harding, Washburn, South St. Paul, Henry Sibley, Patrick HenryWashington Technology Magnet, Johnson, Richfield, Breck, Totino-Grace, and Simley.

3:40 pm - Team Introductions
3:43 pm - National Anthem
4:00 pm - Girls Varsity 5K
4:40 pm - Boys Varsity 5K
5:15 pm - Girls Junior Varsity 5K
5:50 pm - Boys Junior Varsity 5K
6:15 pm - Boys Freshman 2.5K
6:30 pm - Girls Freshman 2.5K
6:45 pm - Awards Ceremony

In the boys race, two favorites stand out from the rest of the field. Joseph Minor, a junior from Washburn, is currently ranked 2nd in the state and has broken 16 minutes in the 5k. However, senior Myles Fleming of Henry Sibley ran 16:02.9 over 5k a year ago, and is ranked 11th in the coaches poll. He should provide Minor with some competition at the front, and may pull the upset on race day. Fellow Washburn athletes Matt Cota and Caleb Haugland, along with Burnsville's Matsola Bein all ran in the 16:30s in 2016, so a summer improvement could also place them near contention.  On the team side, the 6th-ranked Minneapolis Washburn squad should easily grab the victory. In MileSplit's virtual meet projections using 2016 5k season bests, Washburn wins handily with 24 points, beating Burnsville's 91 and Henry Sibley's 94.

In the girls competition, a trio of teammates will look to sweep the podium spots. 4th-ranked Emily Covert of Washburn is set as the pre-race favorite, but she may have company up front. Covert's teammates Grace Dickel and Olivia Orr have both gone under 18:40 for 5k, so they'll look to provide support in the team competition. Looking to crash the Washburn party, Star Costa of South St. Paul has run 18:37 for 5k and was briefly in the coaches' rankings last fall, so she has the potential to pull a big upset. The 10th-ranked Washburn girls squad is projected to take the win in a virtual meet in a dominant 19 points, well ahead of Henry Sibley's 54 and South St. Paul's 55.