Conference Tuesday - The Biggest Day Of XC Of The Year

PREVIEW

Location: Pine City Country Club, Pine City

Weather: Mid 40s, partly cloudy, mild wind

BOYS

Virtual Meet Projection: Pine City (31), Rush City (55), Hinckley-Finlayson (58)

Top Individuals: Tommy Ryan (Pine City, 16:56), Cedric Lefave (Hinckley-Finlayson, 17:01), Craig Feist (East Central, 17:11), Nate Webster (Pine City, 17:17)

The Skinny: As the only runner who has broken 17:00 this season, Tommy Ryan looks favored to defend his conference championship. Ryan looks on the right track to contend for an All-State position after finishing 34th in 2017. He'll face stiff competition from Cedric Lefave, who has been consistently in the low 17s this season. Nate Webster and Craig Feist will follow suit in the chase pack, with these four being significantly ahead of the rest of the field. Led by Ryan and Webster, Pine City should cruise to the conference title. They're projected to take up five of the top eleven spots. Rush City and Hinckley-Finlayson will have a close battle for second.

GIRLS

Virtual Meet Projection: Hinckley-Finlayson (50), Pine City (51), East Central (60)

Top Individuals: Alaina Steele (Pine City, 19:43), Reese Hartl (Hinckley-Finlayson, 20:58), Eva Johnson (Pine City, 21:04), Molly Saboo (Mille Lacs Raiders, 21:16)

The Skinny: Alaina Steele returns to defend her conference championship, and she should have little issue repeating. No other athlete in the field has run within a minute of her season best. Steele has shown solid improvement this fall, breaking 20:00 multiple times. Reese Hartl is the only other runner who has broken 21:00, so she should be expected to lead the chase pack. Eva Johnson and Molly Saboo should also join Hartl in her pursuit of Steele. The team battle will be incredibly close, with Hinckley-Finlayson, Pine City, and East Central all projected to finish within ten points of each other. It will come down to the 5th runners of Pine City and East Central, as Hinckley-Finlayson's overall depth gives them the slight advantage on paper.

(written by Sam O'Donnell-Hoff)

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