Location: Minn Iowa Golf Course, Elmore
Weather: 40 degrees, mostly sunny at racetime
Top Individuals: Grant Strukel (Blue Earth Area, 16:52), Troy Parulski (Saint James, 16:56), Seth Pierson (Saint James, 16:57), Bailey More (Saint Peter, 16:57), Mohammed Yaya (Saint Peter, 16:59), Alex Knickrehm (Saint James, 17:00)
The Skinny: Talk about being close near the top. The fastest six season bests this year are all within eight seconds of each other, and all are 17:00 minutes or better. Remarkably, though, all six runners just recently competed against each other at last week's I-90 Invitational in Fairmont. At that meet, Blue Earth's Grant Strukel came out on top with a fourth-overall finish, so he'll probably be considered the favorite in Elmore today. Saint Peter's duo of Baily More and Mohammed Yaya also ran their season bests at that meet, so they'll likely stick close to Strukel the whole race, while Same James' trio of Troy Parulski, Seth Pierson, and Alex Knickrehm will be near the front too. Those three, however, may be more concerned with getting the win for their team, the sixth-ranked team in Class A. They shouldn't have a huge problem doing that, but at the same time, Fairmont and Saint Peter are both very good teams in their own right, and could make it closer than expected in this small meet.
The Skinny: Like on the boys side, all four of these girls squads just faced each other at the I-90 Invite last week, and like how Saint James came ahead on the boys side, it was Fairmont who easily came out on top for the girls. The 2016 State Champions may no longer be ranked in the Class A polls (at the moment), but they certainly aren't far from getting back in the rankings if they can cut the gap between their top two runners and the next three. Those top two runners, the All-State duo of Laura Thompson and Sarah Krumholz, are also the top two runners in the race, though Saint Peter's Izzy Lind has been a challenge to them both in the past, and could make it interesting. Those three runners are the only ones to break 20 minutes so far in 2018.
(written by Mark Rice)