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

Location: Blueberry Pines Golf Course, Menagha

Weather: 60's, partly cloudy, chance of thunderstorms late

BOYS

Virtual Meet Projection: Staples-Motley (30 points), Ottertail Central (58 points)

Top Individuals: Emmet Anderson (Staples-Motley, 16:06), Taran Howard (Northland-Deer River, 16:50), Hunter Klimek (Staples-Motley, 16:57), Eli Carlson (Ottertail Central, 17:17)

The Skinny: The fifth-ranked Staples-Motley boys will compete in their first of two meets this week, so we'll get a good feel of what type of shape they are in right away. Emmet Anderson is coming off a phenomenal cross country season, albeit a less-phenomenal track season (which saw him finish 13th at State in the 3200m), and should easily take the race unless he elects to run cautiously so as to be in the best possible condition for the much bigger St. Olaf Showcase on Thursday (which he could also win). If he does, NDR's Taran Howard (who saw 28th at State last year) or Ottertail's Eli Carlson (also a returning state qualifier) could easily take advantage. SM's team is also a solid favorite to win, but Ottertail Central finished very well last year (although they graduated three of their top five), and could be sneeky good this year.

GIRLS

Virtual Meet Projection: United North Central (33 points), Staples-Motley (39 points), Ottertail Central (53 points)

Top Individuals: Kira Sweeney (Staples-Motley, 19:23), Annika Aho (UNC, 19:51), Addison Lorber (Staples-Motley, 20:01), Ashley Robben (Staples-Motley, 20:31), Katie George (Ottertail Central, 20:35)

The Skinny: Kira Sweeney and Annika Aho both enter the meet as former All-State athletes coming off disappointing track seasons relative to their XC success, neither having qualified for State. Nevertheless, those two runners are the two top returners for the meet, and both of their respective teams will be locked in for a tight battle. Our virtual meet projects UNC to come out very slightly on top even though SM also has the third and fourth-fastest returners in the meet (they have a four-minute spread, however, compared to two minutes for UNC). Ottertail could also figure in the scoring as well. Sweeny and Aho, however, will probably be the most intriguing thing to watch this meet, even if Sweeny saves some juice for St. Olaf.

(written by Mark Rice)

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