Weather: Partly cloudy, right around 70, with mild breeze
Top Individuals: Addison Stansbury (Stillwater, 15:46), Ethan Vargas (Stillwater, 16:00), Harris Anderson (Math & Science Academy, 16:02), Carter Briggs (Winona, 16:05), Lars Dewall (Stillwater, 16:09), Colten Brand (Winona, 16:12), Conor Gregg Escalante (SPHP, 16:17), Yonas O'Malley (Stillwater, 16:26), Lloyd Young (Bloomington Kennedy, 16:29), Oliver Paleen (16:35)
The Skinny: Top to bottom, this meet is stacked. Addison Stansbury is ranked 5th in Class AA and most recently took down Grant Price and Andrew Brandt at the Columbus Catholic Invitational by a decent margin. At the same meet, his teammate Yonas O'Malley had a massive PR to finish 2nd for the Ponies, which should place him right in the mix of things as well. Harris Anderson will represent Class A, as he sits in the 2nd position in the coach's poll and had a strong opener at St. Olaf to finish 5th. After missing most of last season, Oliver Paleen qualified for State in the 3200m and placed an impressive 6th at a very competitive Irish Invitational. Conor Gregg Escalante also ran well there, and should be near the front. Never count out Winona's duo of Colten Brand and Carter Briggs or anyone on Stillwater's varsity either. After just barely being edged out by Wayzata last weekend (losing on a 6th man tiebreaker), the Stillwater boys are ranked 2nd in the state and have phenomenal depth. They should win easily. Winona is ranked 11th in Class AA, but they are nowhere near a lock for 2nd. Highland Park's runner up finish at the Irish Invitational signalled that they could battle for a State bid this fall. And lastly, don't sleep on the Farmington boys, who quietly have a very solid team this season.
Top Individuals: Tierney Wolfgram (Math & Science Academy, 16:48), Anna Fenske (Farmington, 17:05), Lauren Peterson (Farmington, 17:26), Molly Moening (SPHP, 18:09), Avery Braunshausen (Stillwater, 18:15), Analee Weaver (Stillwater, 18:34), Delilah Baedke (Owatonna, 18:50), Jayda Becker (Shakopee, 19:06), Emilie Meyer (Totino-Grace, 19:07), Anni Skillicorn (Winona, 19:20)
The Skinny: As stacked as the boys race is, the girls might be even more competitive. US#12 Tierney Wolfgram had a spectacular debut at the St. Olaf Showcase, and has a strong case as the 2nd fastest girl in the state. After running 17:28, under the old course record, expect Wolfgram to take the win. Lauren Peterson won fairly convincingly at the Irish Invitational last weekend, and she'll be favored to take 2nd. Molly Moening, Anna Fenske, and Analee Weaver made up ¾ of the lead chase pack at that meet, and they will likely do the same on Friday. Moening ultimately kicked her way to the runner up position behind Peterson, and will look to do so again. However, with Fenske's lengthy resume, a Farmington 2-3 finish is just as likely. Analee Weaver looked strong at the Irish Invitational, and her teammate Avery Braunshausen has immense talent as well. And don't sleep on Anni Skillicorn, whose 19:20 PR comes from the St. Olaf Showcase last week. That time was nearly a minute faster than her previous best, signalling plenty more success to come this year. In the virtual meet, Fenske and Peterson are expected to lead the 9th-ranked Tigers to the victory fairly easily. And what the virtual meet doesn't account for is their huge batch of 7th graders that are expected to add serious firepower to the tigers. However, it's actually the Stillwater girls that hold the top ranking, as their victory at the Irish Invitational (including beating Farmington) shot them up to 6th in the Class A rankings. They too have a few middle schoolers that should make a major impact on their team. Highland Park was 4th at that meet, so expect them to compete as well.
(written by Sam O'Donnell-Hoff)