Stars Out To Shine On Today's Big Day Of Racing


Weather: Around 70, partly cloud, little to no wind


Virtual Meet Projection: Minnehaha Academy (34 points), Saint Francis (112 points), Spectrum (115 points)

Top Individuals: Nels Trandahl (Rockford, 16:42), Maxwell Gifford (Minnehaha Academy, 16:58), John Ferris (Minnehaha Academy, 17:07), Luke Swanson (Northwest Homeschool Coop, 17:09), Basil Ricker (Becker, 17:10)

The Skinny: The matchup between Nels Trandahl and Maxwell Gifford will surely be an intriguing one, as both set PRs in their season openers, with both cracking 17:00 for the first time. Trandahl set his time en route to a strong victory at the Maple Lake Invitational. Gifford had a breakout track season, finishing All-State in both the 800m and the 1600m, and will look to carry that success over to the grass this fall. Gifford will be expected to lead his Minnehaha team to a dominant victory. At the St. Olaf Showcase, they finished a decent 17th against top tier competition, but had a very sizeable 2:01 1-5 split. However, that will likely not be as costly at a meet with significantly less competitors than St. Olaf. Spectrum and St. Francis will be expected to compete for 2nd.


Virtual Meet Projection: Becker (74 points), Providence Academy (91 points), Rocori (93 points), Rockford (95 points)

Top Individuals: Victoria Kolbinger (Becker, 19:17), Erika Swanson (Northwest Homeschool Coop, 19:23), Ava Cusciotta (Rockford, 19:28), Maria Laudenbach (St. Francis, 19:46), Adeline Kent (Becker, 19:51), Melanie Illies ( Rocori, 19:53), Lexi Dehmer (Becker, 19:54), Emma Kelly (Providence, 19:58), Madeline Kelly (Providence, 19:14 PR)

The Skinny: With many strong times across the board, the girls race will quietly be a very competitive event. Victoria Kolbinger owns the best time from last season, but she'll be facing two All-State performers in Erika Swanson and Ava Cusciotta. Both Swanson and Cusciotta had extremely successful track seasons, with Swanson placing 10th in the 3200m and Cusciotta placing 6th in the 800m. A handful of other girls have also broken 20:00, creating a strong and deep chase pack. However, perhaps the most exciting individual performance will be the debut of Madeline Kelly, who missed the entire 2017 campaign with a torn ACL. She rebounded to qualify for State in the 3200m, and with more time to train back into shape, her performance here should be something to keep an eye on. Kolbinger and Dehmer will lead a Becker team that made it into the Class AA rankings last season, but will be chased closely by three teams within 21 points in the virtual meet. One thing the virtual meet does not take into account is the aforementioned debut of Kelly, whose addition could very well boost Providence to the victory. A strong performance here could be enough to propel them into the Class A rankings.

(written by Sam O'Donnell-Hoff)