The End Is Near: Lake Conference Championships Highlight Day

PREVIEW

Lake Conference Championships

Location: Gale Woods Farm, Minnetrista

Weather: Mid-40s, sunny

BOYS

Virtual Meet Projections: Edina (42), Eden Prairie (55), Wayzata (62)

Top Individuals: Max Manley (Edina, 15:31), Eli Hoeft (15:43), Andrew Brandt (15:51), Jake Derouin (15:51), Willem Gokemeijer (16:04)

The Skinny: The virtual meet projections may be slightly deceiving here, as the top-ranked Class AA Hornets will try to whittle down their score to run away with the win here. Second-ranked Wayzata should have the edge over the Eden Prairie Eagles based on their performance at the Roy Griak Invitational (which was even without Grant Price), but as the virtual meet shows, it has the potential to be close. Individually, Griak champion Max Manley is the favorite to take the win, while third-place Griak finisher Andrew Brandt should run into a solid second place. After these two, the individual competition is a little less clear-cut, as Hopkins' 12th-ranked Eli Hoeft and Eden Prairie's Jake Derouin (who has missed a couple meets this year with an injury) have both also run under 16 minutes. However, the Hornets' second man, Willem Gokemeijer, should not be counted out, as he is ranked 10th in the state currently, and finished 8th at Griak. Gokemeijer did not race Bauman/Rovn earlier in the season, where Derouin came out on top over Hoeft, so it will be his first matchup against some of this in-conference competition. Other individuals to watch are the Trojans' Luke Sharpe and Grant Price, who could help Wayzata make it a close finish with the Hornets. Max Lauerman, the junior from Minnetonka, also comes in with a time of 16:09, and so will be looking to break that 16 minute barrier here.

GIRLS

Virtual Meet Projections: Wayzata (29), Eden Prairie (45), Edina (62)

Top Individuals: Emma Atkinson (Wayzata, 18:04), Liesl Paulsen (Eden Prairie, 18:17), Caroline Sassan (Wayzata, 18:22), Abby Nechanicky (Wayzata, 18:39), Morgan Richter (Edina, 18:49)

The Skinny: The Lake Conference Championships always offer a lot of great competition and races, and that won't change this year. The biggest story this year is Eden Prairie's rising star-they are projected to take 2nd behind top-ranked Wayzata, despite losing to fellow Conference rival Edina at the Bauman/Rovn Invite earlier this season. The virtual meet point totals are almost deceiving, as this could potentially be a very competitive team battle. After an off-race at Griak, where they placed fourth, Wayzata's title doesn't seem untouchable if either the Eagles or the Hornets can pull off a stellar race. Running up front individually should be Wayzata's Emma Atkinson, one half of the Atkinson-Sassan duo that usually dominates for the Trojans. Sassan should also be back to form here after a disappointing Griak finish. Expect EP's Liesl Paulsen to go with Wayzata's top two and hold on. Other athletes to watch include Edina's Macy Iyer, who was her team's top finisher with 33rd place at Griak and Eden Prairie's Ananya Vegesna and Ella Bakken who have nearly broken 19 minutes this season.

(written by Maddy Lawler)
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