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Hastings continues strong CC season

Heading in to this cross country season, longtime Hastings coach John Dewall was optimistic about the group of runners he had out for the team. For the boys, he had a young but experienced group of strong returning talent. For the girls, he had a fresh group of young and inexperienced runners in whom he saw potential.

Both the boys and girls have lived up to the hype.

The girls placed seventh out of 20 teams at the Rochester Mayo Invitational. The boys, meanwhile, were 11th out of 21.

"This is the best group of kids we've had in a lot of years," Dewall said. "They're all positive, and they're all running really well."

The girls were led by sophomore Michaela Mills, a first-year cross country athlete who is better known for her skills on the softball diamond. She finished the 4K race in 16:08.06.

"She continues to surprise a lot of people," Dewall said.

Just behind Mills was eighth-grader Kiki Radke, who was 23rd in 16:11.57.

Another eighth-grader, Helen Jensen, was 29th in 16:21.66.

Captain Bri Strandberg was 33rd in 16:24.47.

"Bri is a great captain - she's really helping these young kids," Dewall said. "She's a real positive role model for them."

Just 20 seconds off Strandberg's pace was freshman Kailee Harrington, another brand new runner. She was 59th in 16:53.57. Kate Curtis finished 95th for Hastings, coming in at 18:01.43.

With the top five runners scoring, Dewall was thrilled to see Harrington just 20 seconds off Strandberg's pace.

"If she moves up to where Helen is, we end up getting third in the meet," Dewall said. "The key is pulling some of these younger kids up. They're all so young, so we're really pleased."

Zack Benning led the Hastings boys with a seventh-place finish, coming in at 16:26.70 in the 5K race.

"Zack had a heck of a race," coach John Dewall said. "It's a pretty high-powered meet. There's 150 kids. He rocked it out there. He's really coming on. It's really great to see that."

Joe Rabaey was 50th in 17:51.00 and Colby Smith was 66th in 18:03.00.

For the first two miles of the race, Benning and Smith led the pack.

"They were willing to put it all out there," Dewall said. "Colby fell back a bit, but Zack just hung on. He's got a lot of guts to keep going after it."

Christian Weiland finished 80th in 18:23.00. Ben Jackson was 93rd in 18:42.70 and Jake Spitzack was 96th in 18:47.20.

"Jake is really showing a lot of improvement," Dewall said. "He's a new runner for us this year. He's doing really, really well."

Jake Kelly rounded out the Hastings varsity with a 103rd place finish in 18:54.80.

"He's really coming on, too," Dewall said.

For the boys junior varsity team, Austin Reuter turned in a solid performance, finishing 37th in 18:53.01.

"He had such a good race, he worked his way on to varsity," Dewall said. "He's new to the team, too, so that's great."

Andy Rachuy was 53rd in 19:16.67; Tim Zappa was 77th in 19:49.77; Brendan McCabe was 81st in 19:53.17; Jacob Rachuy was 90th in 20:01.65; Isaiah Gardell was 92nd in 20:07.38; Finley Myers was 128th in 20:52.64; Kenny Benson was 136th in 21:15.69; Jason Schultz was 153rd in 22:14.41; David Syverson was 155th in 22:15.72; Brian Gapp was 187th in 25:45.11.

The junior varsity boys placed eighth out of 17 teams.

The girls junior varsity team was led by Abberly Smith, who finished 63rd in 18:49.10. Nicole Froehling was 74th in 19:06.54; Taylor Engstrom was 78th in 19:10.21; Rachel Thomas was 84th in 19:16.42.

The Minnaert

The annual Dewey Minnaert Invitational was run Sept. 8 at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park.

For the boys, Zack Benning led the way with a fifth-place finish. He had a time of 17:32.62. Also racing for the boys were: Colby Smith, 20th, 18:27.81; Joe Rabaey, 41st, 19:10.49; Christian Weiland, 50th, 19:32.37; Jake Spitzack, 57th, 19:40.69; Jake Kelly, 58th, 19:49.51; Ben Jackson, 63rd, 20:13.41; Andy Rachuy, 72nd, 20:32.41; Bryan Rachuy, 75th, 20:46.01.

As a team, the boys placed eighth with 170 points. Coon Rapids won the meet with 74 and Osseo was second with 77.

The Hastings girls were led by Michaela Mills, who finished 24th in 16:48.88. Bri Strandberg was 26th in 16:52.07; Kiki Radke was 37th in 17:24.17; Helen Jensen was 38th in 17:36.61; Kailee Harrington was 48th in 19:18.68; and Kate Curtis was 53rd in 18:53.20.

The girls placed fifth out of nine teams with 154 points. Eagan won the meet with 36 points and East Ridge was second with 39.

The boys junior varsity was led by Tim Zappa, who placed 18th in 20:32.41. Brendan McCabe was 32nd in 20:54.39; Isaiah Gardell was 39th in 21:07.28; Jacob Rachuy was 44th in 21:17.03; David Syverson was 103rd in 22:49.06; Kenny Benson was 127th in 23:39.30; Jason Schultz was 169th in 25:05.27; Sam Hoffman was 171st in 25:08.61; Brian Gapp was 196th in 26:40.03; Blake Woolard was 200th in 27:39.25; Dan Eggert was 201st in 27:41.28; and Tate Gahnz was 202nd in 27:42.00.

The junior varsity boys placed seventh out of 10 teams.

The girls junior varsity was led by Rachel Thomas, who finished 46th in 20:18.74. Taylor Engstrom was 47th in 20:20.30; Abberly Smith was 68th in 21:11.86; Mikayla Minnaert was 91st in 22:16.20; and Rachel Peterson was 94th in 22:18.29.