Photos by Brad O’Neil. Right-click for full-sized image.
The North Lakes Academy cross-country teams hosted their “Hill Thrill” meet at Forest Hills on Monday.
Organizing the home meet meant a lot of extra work for head coach Jeff Rapp in the weeks leading up to the event.
“You’re out there several weeks in advance, communicating with coaches,” Rapp said. “Then there’s the physical aspect of bringing together the materials needed to mark a course and put it all together, and then there’s the administrative aspect. We’re really thankful to the folks at Forest Hills for hosting us.”
On the day, the Hill Thrill provided the competing schools with a challenging but well-groomed course.
“The course conditions were really pristine today, not too wet and not too dry,” Rapp said. “There are five really difficult hills, but lots of open places for running too.”
The Husky boys finished second in the varsity race with 65 points. The Nighthawks, a co-op of homeschooled athletes based in the Northwest Metro, finished fourth with a perfect score of 15. Nova Classical Academy (70), Charter Stars (107) and Hiawatha (136) rounded out the standings; Groves Academy and Calvin Christian entered individual athletes but did not have enough to register a team score.
The boys were led by sophomore Jordan Norwood (eighth of 59, 20 minutes, 22.46 seconds) and seventh-grader Kelvin Luebke (ninth, 20:32.10), both of whom earned medals for their top-ten finishes.
Sophomore Tyler Gaskill was next across the line (17th, 21:10.66) followed by sophomore Noah Hampton (21:14.63), eighth-grader Brayden Dickey (30th, 23:01.44), junior Davey Povolny (33rd, 23:35.84) and sophomore Josh Matthews (37th, 24:31.10).
The girls varsity unit finished third with 57 points, behind the Nighthawks (23) and Nova Classical (47) and ahead of Charter Stars (105). Calvin Christian and Hiawatha entered incomplete teams.
Like the boys team, the leading girls finished eighth and ninth: junior KayLynn Kuehn led the way (24:41.01) with sophomore Anna Paulson close behind (24:46.71). Seventh-grader Lauren Beamond (13th, 25:37.19), eighth-grader Sydney Norwood (14th, 25:39.53), sophomore Hannah Jensen (18th, 26:58.46), freshman Clara Getchell (21st, 28:58.93) and freshman Kyla Schiller (24th, 32:53.28). Twenty-eight finishers made up the girls field.
The Huskies had one medalist in the shorter middle school race, seventh-grader Charlie Weiss (ninth of 25, 11:04.52).
“We’ve been seeing a lot of runners coming on strong the past few weeks,” Rapp said. “Our team has stayed healthy; it’s nice to run injury-free. They are beginning to run fearlessly and truly attack the course.”
The home meet marked the end of the regular season for the Huskies, who will compete next in the Twin Cities Athletic Conference championship Oct. 17 at St. Catharine’s University, followed by the Section 5A meet at Spring Brook Golf Course in Mora on Oct. 26.