Willmar, Red Wing, Mora, And Many Others Open Season Today

Weather: 60s, overcast.

BOYS

Virtual Meet Projection: Willmar (31), Bemidji (47), Moorhead (54)

Top Individuals: Hudeife Mire (Willmar, 15:57), Dawson Strom (Moorhead, 16:12), Mason Wendt (Willmar, 16:22), Zach Johnson (Moorhead, 16:25), Gage Mostad (Bemidji, 16:33)

The Skinny: Like on the girls side, the Willmar Cardinals are projected to win Shocky Strand on the team side and individually. However, Bemidji and Moorhead, themselves locked in a tight race for second, may be within striking distance if one of their top five has improved enough. Individually, Willmar's Hudeife Mire is the favorite by 5K PR, though Strom and Johnson of Moorhead ran quicker times this past track season. And speaking of track, with Willmar's track standout Adnan Mohumed coming out for cross country his senior year, he will not only add strength to the Cardinals' ranks, but also contend for a top finish in this race.

GIRLS

Virtual Meet Projections: Willmar (15), Moorhead (71), Bemidji (74)

Top Individuals: Heidi Schmitz (Willmar, 17:56), Leah Hansen (Willmar, 18:34), Serena Monson (Willmar, 18:44), Elsie Duininck (Willmar, 19:02), Nina Dawson (Willmar, 19:07)

The Skinny: With the top six returning runners, Willmar is projected to sweep Shocky Strand with a perfect score. Leading the way will most likely be the Cardinals' Heidi Schmitz, last year's 11th place finisher at state and 10th ranked girl in the most recent AA coaches poll. She will be followed by teammates Hansen and Monson, both of whom have run under 19 minutes several times in their careers. Outside of Willmar's top 6, Melton Taylor of Moorhead (19:35) and Kayla Dewitt of Bemidji (19:52) will make it a fight to hold off Willmar's seventh and eighth runners and finish in the top ten. Additionally, with such close projected scores, Moorhead and Bemidji will have to battle fiercely for second place. Moorhead may be able to maintain the edge thanks to incoming eighth grader Regan Dewitt, who ran 20:39 last year.

(written by Maddy Lawler)

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