FL CC boys prepare for Section 7 race

Forest Lake’s boys cross-country program traveled to Falcon Ridge Golf Course in Stacy Oct. 15 for the Suburban East Conference meet.

The Rangers took seventh place at the meet with 192 points. Stillwater and Mounds View led the way with 34 and 65 points, respectively.

Forest Lake ran without five of its top eight runners due to injury and illness, including top runners Leo Hipp, a junior, and Tommy Babcock, a sophomore, who are resting with tendonitis and an iliotibial band injury. Both are expected to return for the section race this week.

Head coach Deno Johnson said that, despite a plague of setbacks, his competing runners are recording personal bests.

“The PRs are big victories in itself, and we have such a competitive conference we may have only gotten sixth if we were healthy,” Johnson said. “But we’re meeting those program goals of achieving those personal records, then chasing our competitive goals. And let me say, in stead of Tommy and Leo not racing, (Chris) Delgado and (Quinn) Duffy have just caught fire.”

Duffy, a junior, led Forest Lake in the 5K race with a time of 16:59, good for 25th place and all-conference honorable-mention honors. He also cut 35 seconds off his SEC time from last season. Delgado, another junior, earned the same accolades by finishing a second later for 27th place and knocked 45 seconds off his time.

Sophomore Davis Long made strides this season by dropping a minute off his time from last year as he came in at 42nd in 17:35, followed by junior Riley Schilling in 47th place (17:45). Junior John Reiling finished a short time later in 51st place (17:52), also dropping time at 30 seconds.

Looking ahead to the Section 7AA race Oct. 24, Johnson said the field is wide open.

“There isn’t just one team that’s the favorite or even a one-two punch; there are five or six teams that are in contention,” Johnson said. “We just need to go in with clear heads. There’s a lot of excitement, and it’s possible we could have some individuals heading to state.”

The section race begins at 2:45 p.m. in Cloquet.