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Sophia Engesser at state meet

Engesser Competes at State Cross Country Meet

By Alicia Sunnarborg, 11/07/23, 12:15PM CST


The Minnesota State High School League State Cross Country Meet was held Nov. 4 at Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights.

Sophia Engesser

Mound Westonka High School ninth grader Sophia Engesser ran at the state cross country meet on Nov. 4.

The Minnesota State High School League State Cross Country Meet was held Nov. 4 at Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights. This is the first year the state meet has been held at Les Bolstad in over 20 years, after many successful meets at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

Ninth grader Sophia Engesser ran for the Mound Westonka White Hawks. This was her first year qualifying as an individual, after running with the team at the state meet in 2021. Engesser ran a fantastic race, finishing in 20:43. 

“I’m so thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to run at the state meet," Engesser shared. "I’m also so grateful to my family, coaches, teammates and friends for supporting me along the way. It was an honor to be able to represent Mound Westonka cross country at the state level.”

Coach Butch Humbert shared, “Sophia is a very consistent runner and always meticulously prepared. She’s great at the day-to-day things that have set her up for success.”

The team celebrated their season Nov. 5 at Mound Westonka High School. Highlighting the night was the distribution of awards by Coach Humbert. These awards were voted on by the team during the last week of the season. Rookie of the Year was the first honor announced. Seventh grader Lydia Engesser and eighth grader Aidan Huesmann claimed the honors after both having successful first seasons.

The next award was the Spirit Award. For the second year in a row, junior Andrew Finley received the top vote on the boys side, while junior Brooke Garlock earned it for the girls. Garlock’s spirit was shared at the banquet with a fabulous video she created to end the night, showcasing the team’s season.

The Most Improved Award this year went to two ninth graders. Jacob Chilson got better week after week for the White Hawks, finishing his final meet of the season as the top junior varsity runner. Anna Reginald made great improvements during her rookie season last year on JV, but really stepped it up this year, finishing most meets as the number two varsity runner, and only narrowly missing qualifying for state. 

The last award voted on by the team was the Hardest Worker. Leading the team votes were Engesser, senior Charlie Paul and junior Isaac Hayes.

Eighth graders Elias Ottenbreit and Jennifer DeMers earned a new award for this year - the Future Stars Award. Both runners were rookies and look to have promising years ahead.

Runner of the Year was the final award given for the evening. Paul claimed this honor for the boys, after leading the team in nearly every race he ran. He completed his Mound Westonka career with three Honorable Mention All-Conference awards.

Engesser earned Runner of the Year for the girls team. In addition to qualifying for state, Engesser earned All Conference, along with leading the girls team for the last five meets of the season.

Finally, the White Hawks said goodbye to their senior leaders.  Sierra Jerome, Christian Jordan, Brandon Knock, Cassie Nemecek, and Paul were all wonderful teammates who will be sadly missed.

Humbert summarized, “It was a very good season for all our teams, and I am so proud of all our student athletes!! I am incredibly excited for 2024 and am confident that by continuing to emphasize all the positive total team training elements that we always do well, plus making a few needed adjustments, that next season will be even brighter!”

Charlie Paul and Sophia Engesser

Charlie Paul and Sophia Engesser earned Runner of the Year awards for the White Hawks.