The Mound Westonka cross country team continued the 2023 season with a spectacular meet at the Irish Invitational in Maple Lake on Sept. 1. The team sure beat the heat, as this was the only morning meet of the year. With the White Hawks being faced with tough competition, the team found a way to achieve success.
"It was a pleasure and honor to be able to see Minnesota's best runner - Sal Wirth of Annandale - do his thing and run the course faster than most people could bike it," said head coach Butch Humbert. "One of the great aspects of cross country is that we can cheer for our opponents - whether they are the fastest or slowest - and feel good about it."
"All of us know how tough this 'game' is - one that allows no time outs or commercial breaks to catch our breath and gather ourselves," Humbert added.
The White Hawks girls varsity team had a good performance, placing fourth out of 10 teams. Ninth grader Sophia Engesser led the team with an awesome sixth-place finish (21:35), followed by ninth grader Anna Regenold in 12th (22:14), junior Brooke Garlock in 23rd (23:35), senior Cassie Nemecek in 25th (23:44) and junior Claire Rashleger in 30th (24:15).
The varsity boys team placed fifth with senior Charlie Paul taking 10th place with a time of 18:19, followed by juniors Isaac Hays in 15th (18:50) and Andrew Finley in 23rd (19:14), senior Brandon Knock in 34th (19:39), sophomore Luke Sunnarborg in 36th (19:40), with ninth grader Owen Trost (19:45) and sophomore Noah Huesmann (19:49) finishing close behind.
The junior varsity boys team kept things going with a strong third-place finish. Junior Miles Lund led the way in 11th (20:42), ninth grader Brendan Rashleger in 12th (20:44), sophomore Gavin Thelen in 13th (20:53), ninth graders Drew Carlson in 17th (21:12) and Jensen Blackstad in 40th (24:02).
For a second week, both middle school teams won the meet! Seventh grader Lydia Engesser won first place with 10:53, followed by seventh grader Hadley Hoag in fifth (11:11), eighth grader Vayla Jerome in sixth (11:15), seventh graders Elise Hays in eighth (11:18) and Eva Savstrom in 13th (12:26). For the boys, eighth graders Jacob Chilson took second (9:41), Gabriel Lundgren in third (9:49), Bronx Cupp in eighth (10:16), Rayne Shaffer in tenth (10:17) and Bennett Courneya in 12th (10:20).
Coach Humbert commented:
"All our kids competed well and supported each other. Despite having a few athletes out due to injury, illness and other reasons, those that got to the starting line raced smart and efficiently. The Maple Lake course was not very spectator friendly, but it was fairly runner friendly, and we took advantage of that. But our parents and families showed up in good numbers again to be there for our team. That is important and makes a difference."
The team’s next meet will be the Tri-City United Gerry Smith Invitation in Montgomery on Sept. 7, followed by the Lions Invite at Baylor Park near Norwood-Young America on Sept. 12.
Tag(s): Cross Country