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


Weather: 60s, sunny and clear, little wind.


Virtual Meet Projection: Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin (66), Ely (84), Brainerd (138)

Top Individuals: Geno Uhrbom (GNK, 15:36), Luke Olson (Ely, 16:20), Cameron Stocke (Virginia, 16:25), Tyler Norgord (Grand Rapids, 16:45)

The Skinny: GNK freshman phenom and 2017 third- place State finisher Geno Uhrbom returned to his sophomore year of cross country last week with a 16:08 debut. Now he's back, on a course where he ran his second-fastest time ever of 15:48 last year. Uhrbom is currently ranked first in the Class A Boys Coaches Association Poll, and is by far the favorite for the GNK Titan Invite. However, Uhrbom isn't the only ranked guy who competitors will face down on the Eagle Ridge Golf Course. Ely's Luke Olson, currently ranked fifth in Class A, and Virginia's Cameron Stocke, who's ranked eighth, will race for the second consecutive meet after all had excellent performances at a very fair Virginia Invitational course. This meet will also give the GNK guys (6th in the team rankings) a chance to show what they can do as a squad, as a dominating win like what they did last year on this same course could catapult them up the Coaches' Poll.


Virtual Meet Projection: Proctor (72), Brainerd (81), Mesabi East (111)

Top Individuals: Ava Hill (Mesabi East, 18:11), Liliana Schaeffer (Brainerd, 19:42), Ashlee Siegle (Marshall School-Duluth, 19:56), Sydney Binsfield (Proctor, 20:03), Bella Thomas (Mesabi East, 20:10)

The Skinny: Though the race isn't as deep on the girls side, another ranked performer to watch will be two-time defending Class A 800 champion and last year's 8th-place finisher at State, junior Ava Hill. Like Uhrbom on the boys side, Hill has already won her debut race this season and comes in with a time just over a minute and a half under her competitors. Behind her, Brainerd's Schaeffer, the Marshall School's Siegle, and Proctor frontrunner Sydney Binsfield all have close enough PRs to make it a race. At a quicker course like GNK, these girls will get a chance to drop a seriously impressive time. Another runner to watch, not far behind the others, is Mesabi East's Bella Thomas, an eighth grader who ran 20:10 at the end of her 2017 cross country campaign, and who was a State qualifier in the 1600m last spring. In addition, in Mesabi East's debut race for this season, Thomas finished only 20 seconds behind her standout teammate Hill. Another year of experience could turn her into a serious contender for second place. On the team side, Proctor looks to have a narrow lead over Brainerd, though if Brainerd's fifth runner can close the gap on their fourth, the Warriors have a shot at the title.

(written by Maddy Lawler)