Benning wins another cross country meet
Two meets into the cross country season, Zack Benning is perfect. The HHS junior has won both races he has been in this year, including Friday's Dakota Classic in Eagan.
Benning won the two-mile race with a time of 10 minutes and 19.3 seconds.
He beat Obsa Ali from Richfield, the same runner who beat him in the section track meet in the one-mile and two-mile races.
"They were right together at one mile," coach John Dewall said. "At about a mile and a half, Zack had a 200 meter lead, and he beat him pretty handily. It was pretty fun to watch. That will give Zack a boost of confidence. He knows he can run at that level."
Ali finished 13 seconds behind Benning.
Benning will get a good look at some more of the state's top runners in the coming weeks, including the meet at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park.
Not far behind Benning on Friday was HHS senior Joe Rabaey, who had a time of 10:41.6. He placed fifth overall.
The next three runners for the Raiders, who counted in scoring, placed 35th, 38th and 41st. Jake Spitzack had a time of 12:02.7; Austin Reuter finished in 12:11.9; and Christian Weiland came in at 12:15.4.
Also running varsity for the Hastings boys were Forrest Close, who was 43rd in 12:16.6, and Garrett Tuin, who was 49th in 12:34.4.
The Hastings boys finished sixth in the meet with 120 points. For Hastings to move up as a team, those three through seven runners all have to move up, Dewall said.
"You have to get those three, four and five guys, especially, to get a lot closer to really make it work," he said. "We need to get them closer to Zack and Joe. We have to do some work to get them up to that level. We just need everybody to step it up a bit."
Apple Valley won with 60, New Prague was second with 66 and Eagan was third with 97.
Teams competing in the meet included Apple Valley, Eagan, Eastview, Farmington, the Forest Lake girls, Lakeville South, New Prague, Richfield and Simley.
All races were 3,200 meters.
The Hastings girls were led by Michaela Mills, a junior, who had a time of 13 minutes flat.
Kiki Radke was 23rd in 13:04.3 and Ciara Christensen was 42nd in 13:53.2.
Rounding out the varsity scoring were Bri Strandberg, 46th in 14:02.1, and Kate Curtis, 55th in 15:23.5.
Mandy Mach and Quinn Meyers also raced for Hastings. Mach finished 57th in 15:57.8 and Meyers came in at 15:59.0.
As a team, the Raiders finished eighth with 186 points. Eagan won the meet with 28, Lakeville South was second with 49 and Forest lake was third with 86.
The Hastings boys placed seventh out of eight teams in the junior varsity competition.
Will Briercliffe led the team with a 19th-place finish in 12:16.5.
Nate Holm was 38th in 12:54.7. Clay Fleck placed 40th in 13:01.6. Brandon Sieh placed 42nd in 13:04.6. Nick Johnson placed 44th in 13:10.2. Isaiah Gardell took 46th in 13:11.3. Mike Pappella placed 51st in 13:38.5.
Rachel Peterson led the junior varsity girls. She placed 43rd in 14:57.0. Abberly Smith was 66th in 15:34.5. Rachel Thomas was 74th in 15:42.5. Taylor Engstrom took 93rd in 16:28.8.