Now that it is October, teams are beginning to prepare for championship season, putting themselves in top tier racing form. This should lead to some big time drops, especially as the weather gets a little colder, so the heat won't be a factor anymore. With weather forecasted in the high 50s, and minimal wind, conditions are looking nearly perfect for these competitors. The Swain course isn't a cakewalk by any means however. Runners are forced to start the race up a huge hill, one that they will have to go up again in the middle of the race. This is definitely a hilly course, but still capable of producing solid times. Kevin Dado won this race the last two years on the guys side, running 16:19 both years, while Regan Duffy won this race on the girls side last year with a time of 18:55.
In the guys race, Charlie Babcock of Forest Lake will be the favorite going into this race, as he holds the fastest season PR with a time of 16:11. However, the dynamic duo from Saint Michael Albertville of Jonah Breuer and Carter Knaus are two individuals that are not ones to count out. They hold times of 16:34, and 16:35 respectively, and tend to work together very well in races, which could definitely causes problems for Babcock. Not far behind is Spencer Moore of Rochester Mayo, who holds a lifetime PR of 15:58, but has only ran 16:42 this year. He ran 4:31 in the 1600 this past track season, so he has shown that he is clearly someone worth noticing.
As for the team competition, STMA is the favorite, winning the virtual meet using 5k PRs with 45 points, but just 15 points fewer than Forest Lake. Both teams have two clear sub-17 runners up front, so it will be up to their 3,4, and 5 runners to determine who will take home the title in this race. Also, do not count out Robbinsdale Armstrong, as they sit in 3rd in the virtual meet with 92 points, who carries a tight pack, with a spread of just 35 seconds.
In the girls individual race, we may be in for a very tight battle. The two STMA teammates, Ali Weimer and Annalise Davis, hold very close PRs, with 18:37, and 18:40 respectively, along with being ranked 8th and 9th in the state. However, Bloomington Jefferson's Elena Hayday is close behind with a time of 18:46. Regan Duffy is clearly an individual that you can never count out. She may have a season PR of just 19:09, but she has won her last two invitationals, and is very strong, especially on hilly courses. Since Duffy won this race last year, she is for sure going to be a contender in this race.
In the team competition, STMA will be the clear, dominating favorite in this race. In the virtual meet, they win with an absolutely overwhelming score of just 28 points, clearly ahead of Forest Lake, in second place with 111 points. Ranked 3rd in the state currently, the STMA girls are not only trying to prove they can go to state, but they are capable of showing they at least may finish on the podium this year. Right now, the sky is the limit for STMA, and they will look for another dominating performance Saturday afternoon.
This preview was written by Andrew Kempf