The boys’ cross country team in Forest Lake keeps cruising along, this time taking third at Memorial Park last Tuesday for the Shakopee Invitational. The Rangers lost by just two points to Northfield, who placed second with 92 points behind St. Paul Central.
Forest Lake standout, senior Jacob Jankowski, finished in second place with a time of 16:08, just one second behind the top runner from St. Paul Central, senior Ahmed Bule.
Ninth-grader Tommy Babcock showed up to run again, placing 12th out of 91 runners at 17:38, while sophomore Quinn Duffy continues to climb for Forest Lake with a 19th-place finish in 17:46.
Sophomore Leo Hipp came next for the Rangers at the 24th spot with a time of 17:58, and at 37th place, sophomore Alex Richert came in at 18:21.
Forest Lake ended with a total time of 1:27:54, and an average time of 17:34.
“Overall it was a nice race, we’re continuing to pick up momentum,” head coach Deno Johnson said. “We’ve had a lot of guys stepping up and challenging spots.”
Babcock continues to improve as he jumped 13 spots and dropped 44 seconds off his time from the Shakopee race last year. Along with Duffy solidifying his status as a top Forest Lake runner, Jankowski is another Ranger on a mission.
Johnson said the senior is racing smarter, more tactfully and is blowing away Ranger times of years past. In 2010 on the same course in Shakopee, Forest Lake’s top runner, Joe Jackson, placed fourth with a time of 17:00. The No. 1 runner ran a 16:16 race. In 2011, Jackson finished second, again behind Bule, with a time of 16:47. Bule’s time last year was 16:25. Jankowski beat all four times last Tuesday, and told Johnson just before conference finals this Tuesday, Oct. 16, that he has even more of a pop in his step.
“He is just crushing Forest Lake’s times,” Johnson said. “I’m very demanding of my captains and the only way to expect more is to strive for more. When a kid races at this level, a D-I athlete level, it’s just a matter of pushing.”
Johnson said all of his runners were ready to race at the Falcon Ridge Golf Course in Stacy for the conference finals, and that “times are going to fly.”