Recapping a Wild NXR Heartland



The favorite game through with the performance they needed and Edina earned their second ever NXR Heartland team title. In their usual fashion the Hornets packed up and ran as one connected group over a 23 second split. All five Edina scoring runners placed in the top 25 scoring athletes going 14-15-19-24-25 with an 18:16 average. They were led by sophomore Maggie Wagner who was 20th overall in 18:05.0. Edina ran very well and it was needed to better an outstanding team race from runner-up Muskego (WI).

The Warriors were just 24 points back of Edina with a team score of 121 led by individual runner-up junior Kate Sperka. The Muskego team average was 18:13, three seconds ahead of Edina and they had two runners ahead of the top Edina athlete. Through four scoring runners, Muskego led by 14 points but an 87 second split and the sixth Edina runner displacing the Warriors fifth runner proved to be the difference. Muskego is just the second team from Wisconsin to reach NXN, the first since Neenah won the Heartland in 2011. 

Wayzata (MN) was third with 145 points despite a better split than Muskego. The Trojans ran an 18:23 average and had six runners ahead of Muskego's fifth runner but could not overcome an advantage in the first four scoring slots. They were led by freshman Abbey Nechanicky who was 10th overall in 17:49.9. Sioux Falls Lincoln (SD) was fourth with a tiny 16 second split but their average of 18:37 meant their pack was just slightly behind the top three teams. The Patriots were led sophomore Leah Derenge in 47th place overall in 18:30.2. Stillwater (MN) rounded out the top five led by fourth place overall finisher Analee Weaver in 17:27.7, a career best by 19 seconds.


6. Saint Michael-Albertville (237), 8. Farmington (285), 9. Willmar (289), 10. Minnetonka (296), 11. St Paul Highland Park (320), 13. Alexandria (338), 15. Eden Prairie (356), 17. White Bear Lake (421)


Jamestown (ND) junior Megan Ford led from just after the mile and pulled away in the final 1k to win the NXR Heartland title with a new career best 17:19.1. Around the mile mark the lead group of 11 went through the mile around 5:40. By the two mile mark Ford had built a four second lead over a small group of three and a chase pack string of four additional athletes still in the mix about seven seconds back. Over the final 1k lots of shifts came in the rest of the top ten by Ford extended her advantage to win by seven seconds.

Runner-up junior Kate Sperka of Muskego moved up from sixth at the two-mile mark finish in 17:26.9, a new PR by nearly 30 seconds. Mid-Prairie senior Marie Hostetler had run in the top five the whole way and held off Stillwater (MN) junior Analee Weaver by less than a half second in the battle for third and fourth. Farmington junior Anna Fenske established herself in a NXN qualifying midway through the race and battled her way through the final 800m holding off sixth place Onalaska (WI) junior Kora Malecek to earn her fourth straight trip to NXN. With Sperka leading her team to a NXN berth, Malecek moved into the top five individual qualifying spots for her first trip to nationals.

St Michael-Albertville sophmore Ali Weimer ran a career-best 17:40.2 to finish seventh overall a mere tenth ahead of eighth place Eden Prairie senior Liesl Paulsen in 17:40.3, also a career best. Hopkins seventh grader Sydney Drevlow was impressive in her NXR debut, finishing ninth overall in 17:46.8, a career best and her first sub 18 minute 5k. Wayzata freshman Abbey Nechanicky was tenth in 17:49.9, a new PR and just her second time under 18 minutes after finishing as Class AA runner up last week. 


16. Mariah Fenske, Farmington, 18:00.1, 17. Molly Moening, St Paul Highland Park, 18:01.6, 21. Lauren Cossack, Edina, 18:05.3, 22. Natasha Sortland, Zumbrota-Mazeppa/Kenyon-Wanamingo, 18:08.4, 24. Iris Guider, St Paul Central, 18:10.4, 25. Brianne Brewster, Lakeville South, 18:10.6, 28. Grace Link, Wayzata, 18:13.1, 30. Morgan Richter, Edina, 18:18.7, 31. Katie Sigerud, STMA, 18:20.0, Isabelle Schmitz, Hutchinson, 18:20.3, 33. Tenley Nelson, Luverne, 18:20.5, 34. Madeline Verkerke, White Bear Lake, 18:22.2, 35. Lauren Eilers, Willmar, 18:22.2, 37. Ella Dufault, Waseca, 18:23.2, 38. Brooke Elfert, Stillwater, 18:24.6, 39. Macy Iyer, Edina, 18:24.9, 42. Mary Velner, Edina, 18:28.7