We are another week closer to NXN 2019 and finding out how Minnesota's best stack up with the rest of the nation. Edina's girls team won the NXR Heartland title and advanced to Portland along with Stillwater junior Analee Weaver and Farmington junior Anna Fenske. Let's take a look at the career progress of Weaver and Fenske as well as how Edina's team went through this season on a mission to reach NXN.
MINNESOTA'S INDIVIDUAL NXN QUALIFIERS
Three years ago Analee Weaver was a freshman starting out her season with 20 minute 5k results. By the end of that campaign she posted a then career PR of 18:34.8 in the Heartland open race which placed her seventh and served as a glimpse of what was on the horizon for the emerging talent. By the end of her second cross country season she moved up from just inside the top 50 at the MSHSL Class AA race to an all-state eighth place and improving her best times by over 30 seconds and climbing into the top 40 at NXR. Now Weaver will head to NXN 2019 with a Class AA cross country title and a PR under 17:30 on her resume. Just 36 months ago she ran in the Heartland open just hoping for a t-shirt (top 21) and ended up in the top ten. After earning her first nationals berth it will be exciting seeing how her junior season momentum carries into Portland.
There are few runners in the midwest who have the big meet experience of Anna Fenske. Taking a peek at her career progress the thing that should jump out at fans is not only running fast but doing so at the NXR Heartland race and earning four straight NXN berths. Since breaking onto the scene as a seventh grader in 2015 with a third place section 1AA finish, running 9th in Class AA at state and finishing just three spots out of an NXN qualification in her first Heartland race, Fenske has been a household name among the best in the Midwest. For runners hoping to win a state title or earn a spot at NXN its a foregone conclusion they will have to fight Fenske for that honor. She won a state title in 2016, running 17:00 that season in a third place Heartland meet effort and also has a 10th place NXN finish in 2017. She was third in Class AA this season but bounced back at NXR to extend her season another four weeks. While times have been a variable, one thing is for certain, Anna Fenske is one of Minnesota's most accomplished runners ever and heading to Portland with unfinished business and a wealth of experience. It should be fun to see how she does in her fourth NXN race.