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

Weather: Low 70s and partly cloudy


Virtual Meet Projection: Waconia (123), Saint James (123.5), Benilde Saint Margaret (148.5)

Top Individuals: Mitch Johnstone (Mankato-Loyola, 16:33), Hugo Ruiz (Tri-City United, 16:40), Lane Schwarz (LeSueur-Henderson, 16:41), Drew Hastings (Belle-Plaine, 16:41), Symon Keiser (Jordan, 16:43)

The Skinny: The team scores are projected to be very high in points, but come down to a very close finish between the teams from Waconia and Saint James. The best individual from either of these two teams is projected to finish 14th, which is really far back for teams that are fighting for the win. The individual race will be a really fun one to watch because we will see three individuals that are ranked in the top twelve in Class A go head to head. Hugo Ruiz of Tri-City United is the top name out of the group due to being ranked sixth in Class A and already defeating the other two ranked athletes, Mitch Johnstone and Lane Schwarz at the Loyola/Cleveland Invitational earlier this season. It will be another fun match-up as the three were only separated by two seconds at that race. Schwarz is ranked ninth, which is incredible, since he placed 136th at state in 2017 which was his only appearance at the championship meet in both cross country and track. Johnstone's seed of eleventh place is not as large of a jump from his 17th place finish in 2017.  He is an athlete that could make exponential improvements again this year because he went from 111th place in 2016 to 17th place in 2017 at the State Meet. Ruiz may have the advantage out of the three due to his earlier season win over the two and being the only one of the three to advance to the Sate Meet in track this past season (where he finished eighth in the 1600m). However, they are three runners that are completely new to the spotlight so it will be interesting to watch them throughout their seasons as they chase personal bests and high placements.


Virtual Meet Projections: Waconia (102), Belle Plaine (120), Waseca (127), Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (129.5)

Top Individuals: Ella Dufault (Waseca, 18:44), Gracie Mallak (Howard Lake-Waverly-Winstead, 18:49), Abbe Dufault (Waseca, 18:54), Makenna Thurston (Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial, 18:54), Ana Mccabe (Waseca, 18:55), Kaleesa Houston (Waconia, 18:55)

The Skinny: Kaleesa Houston will have extra motivation to come away with the individual title not only to help her Waconia win the team title but also to seek revenge this season after missing an All-State placement by 0.1 seconds to come in 26th at last year's Class AA State Meet. She will have tough competition coming from the Class A standout, Makenna Thurston.  Thurston has already ran in a challenging race this season, coming away with a third place finish, against Morgan Gehl and Tenley Nelson who are ranked above her in the Class A rankings. She lost that race by a large margin so it would be a huge win today if she pulled it off. Gracie Mallak will also be a big name in the race and has already come away with a great win at the Maple Lake Invitational and is ranked ninth in Class A. The team race looks like it will come down to Waconia, Belle-Plaine, and Waseca. Waconia has the other teams beat on paper but Waseca already defeated Waconia by 49 points earlier this season at the St. Olaf Invitational.

(written by Emma Benner)