Location: Long Prairie Country Club, Long Prairie
Weather: 70, partly cloudy, chance of rain later in the day
Virtual Meet Projection: Wadena-Deer Creek High School (95.5), Melrose Area High School (97.5), Holdingford (109)
Top Individuals: Noah Stewart (MACA, 16:50), Eli Carlson (Ottertail Central, 17:17), Bereket Loer (WDC, 17:28), Preston Poepping (Melrose, 17:30)
The Skinny: With fourth-ranked Staples-Motley only sending their JV and junior high runners as they hold their varsity runners until the New London-Spicer Invite later this week, the meet is pretty wide open. The virtual meet puts Melrose and Wadena-Deer Creek within two points of each other, and Holdingford is not much further back. Of course, that may be a tad misleading considering the fact that Melrose has already handily defeated WDC once this year at the Morris Invite, as well as Holdingford at their home meet, and all of Melrose's top five have already run lifetime bests this season (to be honest, Melrose is off to a downright amazing start considering their success last year, and may be battling for a ranking in the future). Individually, MACA's Stewart has already racked up two wins himself and looks poised to take a third as no one in this field has run within 40 seconds of him this season.
Virtual Meet Projection: Sauk Centre High School 82), Paynesville Area High School (97), Ottertail Central (103), Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta (104)
Top Individuals: Megan Danielson (Frazee, 19:56), Addison Lorber (SM, 20:01), Sophia Kluber (Sauk Center, 20:27), Meredith Carrington (MACA, 20:30),
The Skinny: The virtual meet puts the top four schools within 22 points, but past season results appear to give Sauk Center the edge (at the Morris Invite, the standings were ordered as Sauk Center-Paynesville-MACA, just as the virtual meet says, and Sauk Center also beat Morris at Holdingford). Led by Sophia Kluber, who has already racked up two runner-up finishes and far exceeded her accomplishments of last year, Sauk Center has a small team, but also a veteran one that could work their way up into solid standings by the end of the year. And despite Megan Danielson owning the best time among athletes in the field since last season, it could very well be Kluber who takes the win and she has by far the best time in the field this fall.
(written by Mark Rice)