Weather: 60s, sunny and clear, little wind.
Top Individuals: Max Johnston (Pequot Lakes, 17:28), Sam Person (Pequot Lakes, 17:55), Cooper Johnson (Pequot Lakes, 17:58), Russell Pierzinski (Pequot Lakes, 18:35), Ethan Johnson (Pequot Lakes, 18:37)
The Skinny: The Pequot Lakes Invitational looks like it's going to be Pequot, Pequot, and more Pequot. The Patriot boys are projected to take the top nine places and earn a perfect score. Max Johnston holds a comfortable edge over the 2-3 punch of his teammates Person and Johnson. The only non-Pequot runner who returns a top-ten time is eighth grader Joel Isaacson of UNC. His 19:13 falls nearly to a dead heat with Pequot's ninth runner Trevor Slaybaugh, so if anyone's going to break into that pack, Isaacson is the best bet. In addition, his youth and the fact that he ran his time as a seventh grader bode well for an improvement. Only three seconds behind Isaacson is his teammate and classmate Luke Brownell. Together, the two might be able to shake things up.
The Skinny: The girls race is dominated by young runners. Out of the projected top twelve, there is one senior (Aho) and one sophomore (Hendrickson). The rest of the field is made up by freshman or younger, including two seventh graders from Pequot Lakes. United North Central looks ready to dominate, led by Aho, whose time is a minute ahead of the rest of the field. UNC's talent cannot be underestimated, as they are projected to place six runners in the top ten. However, although Pequot Lakes faces a significant disadvantage as they lack a fifth runner to measure up to UNC's, they will have a huge lead runner in seventh grader Chaney, who ran a 21:14 in her first ever 5K. Also in their top five sits Chaney's fellow '24 grad, Rian Zutter. In the virtual meet, Zutter places outside of the top ten by one second. And that's not to mention the Patriots' second runner, Ellie Flaws, who opened her season with a time of 21:56, which is a scant three seconds off her PR from the end of the 2017. If Pequot can somehow close the gap between their fourth and fifth runners, they have the opportunity to make this a much closer race than it appears on paper.
(written by Maddy Lawler)
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