Poll: Minnesota Boys and Girls XC Runner of the Year


The 2021 Minnesota cross country season has come and gone now for the most part. It was a memorable season with the addition of Class AAA, some unparalleled times that were met, numerous PRs, and many, many more great moments and memories. 

That being said, in keeping up with our runner of the week polls, it's time to vote for the Minnesota boys and girls cross country runners of the year!

Before we go there though, let's look back at our runners of the week from this season:
WeekBoys WinnerGirls Winner
1Emmett GerresAli Weimer
2Lance NemecekMarissa Long
3Sam ScottAmanda Overgaauw
4Noah BrekerMinnetonka Girls
5Emmett GerresIris Guider
6Alden KellerAmanda Overgaauw
7Caden NorbergAmanda Overgaauw
8Daniel VanackerIris Guider

With knowing the runner of the week winners, let now look at the candidates for the boys and girls runner of the year:

Polls close on Sunday at 6pm CST*

Nick Gilles became the first Minnetonka boys runner to win an individual state title, en route to winning the first-ever Class AAA state title. After putting up top-three performance with impressive times at Roy Griak and the St. Olaf High School showcase, Gilles went into championship season looking for his first win. He didn't disappoint there en route to winning the Lake Conference championship, Section 2AAA title, and the aforementioned state title. This year he improved his PR from 16:03 all the way down to 15:16. 

Sam Scott started off the season with a bang en route to winning the St. Olaf High School Showcase with a 43 second PR for a time of 15:35. He then went on to win his next five races before fading down the stretch of the season. Those wins included beating a loaded field in the boy's gold race at Roy Griak, and a time of 15:12 on the infamous Gale Woods Farm course. Overall he ran sub 16:00 nine times this season, culminating with a time of 15:10 at NXR Heartland. 

Noah Breker started off the season hot with four wins in his first five races, but he saved his best for last in a couple of huge performances and the season's biggest upset performance. Breker's first win of the season was at the Milaca Mega Meet, but he saved his best for Sections. At the Section 6AAA Championship, he had the upset of the season defeating Sam Scott by 14 seconds with a then PR of 15:21. A week later he backed that up by finishing 2nd at state, and then another week later, he finished 2nd at NXR Heartland behind Gabe Hinrichs. 

Elliott McArthur started the season with a new PR of 15:40 at St. Olaf, but saved the best for last in a historic performance at the Garmin RunningLane Cross Country Championships. There he ran in the boys silver race, where he finished 4th overall with a time of 14:56.85. That time is just the 8th ever Minnesota boys 5K uner 15:00, and good enough for the 4th fastest-time in state history only behind Seth Eliason, Alex Miley, and Khalid Hussein. 

Alden Keller coming off a strong track season made a strong impression on the cross country season with a breakthrough performance at the St. Olaf High School Showcase finishing 2nd overall with a time of 15:37. He then followed through on the strong start, with a strong finish en route to winning the Class AA state title. After state, he finished 6th at NXR Heartland, and almost qualified for Eastbay Nationals after finishing 13th at the Midwest regional. 

Jakob McCleary was the final state championship coming out of Class A, and he also led his Perham team to a narrow runner-up finish behind Nova Classical Academy. Overall McCleary won 10 meets this season, and also had a strong 3rd place finish in the boys open race at NXR Heartland. 

So now, who do you think was the Minnesota boys cross country runner of the year? VOTE in the poll below!

Ali Weimer went undefeated in Minnesota this year, winning eight straight races, that included a Roy Griak title, a Lake Conference title, and the Class AAA state championship. She then went into the Eastbay Midwest regional and ran a 17:11 to finish 2nd overall behind Riley Stewart. She comes out of her senior season at the moment with the 5th fastest 5K time in state history with a time of 17:03.30. 

Sydney Drevlow did what only one other girl has done in state history and run under 17:30 as a freshman, the only other runner to ever do that, Anna Fenske. Her time of 17:10.70 is just five seconds behind Fenske and is also the 9th fastest time in state history. She won five meets on the season and finished strong with a 2nd place finish at state, and a 3rd place finish at NXR Heartland. 

Amanda Overgaauw went undefeated on the season and also finished the season with the third-fastest time in Minnesota or 17:41. In all, none of her races were even close and you could say she was the most dominant runner in the state coming out of Class A. The closest anyone came to her in a race this season was at her first race, where Laura Thompson finished 27 seconds behind her. 

Isabelle Schmitz the Class AA version of Overgaauw and Weimer had an undefeated season also in Minnesota and was the 4th fastest girl in-state this fall. She won ten straight meets up until the Eastbay Midwest regional. She won the revamped Class AA state title over Olivia Goebel with a time of 17:59.44. 

Molly Moening led the St. Paul Highland Park girls to their first state title in her last cross country season as a senior. She won four races this season, and ended off the cross country season with a 10th place finish at NXR Heartland. 

So now, who do you think was the Minnesota girls cross country runner of the year? VOTE in the poll below!