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Benning and Rabaey lead charge at cross country invite

The two-headed Hastings boys cross country monster continues to frighten opposing teams.

As their own Dewey Minnaert Cross Country Invitational on Thursday at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park, Hastings had two runners in the top seven.

Junior Zack Benning came in second, finishing just 11 seconds behind the state's No. 2 runner, senior Kevin Docherty of Cretin-Derham Hall. Benning beat the state's No. 8 ranked runner, Ahmed Bule of St. Paul Central, by three seconds. Docherty had a time of 16 minutes, 18.44 seconds. Benning came in at 16:29.93.

"He ran a really good race," coach John Dewall said. "He was just a handful of seconds behind the No. 2 runner in the state, and he beat the No. 8 runner."

HHS senior Joe Rabaey was seventh at the race, finishing in 17:21.84.

"Joe ran a really tough race," Dewall said. "He's getting better. He's putting it all out there."

As a team, Hastings placed seventh. That wasn't the finish Dewall was hoping for - he's hoping to see runners three through seven move up in the pack. They came in between 43rd and 62nd, leaving a big gap between them and Benning and Rabaey.

"We really need to have our third, fourth and fifth runners closer to our first and second runners," Dewall said. "Our goal is to pick up the pace. That's too big of a gap."

Dewall is encouraged that runners three through seven are traveling in a pack - now he just wants to see that pack move up.

"We've got a whole group of those younger kids who are fighting for a varsity spot," he said. "They're really close together."

Jake Spitzack finished 43rd with a time of 18:58.62; Forrest Close was 50th at 19:04.25; Christian Weiland was 56th in 19:25.31; Austin Reuter was 57th in 19:28.86; and Will Briercliffe was 62nd in 19:56.50.

The boys meet was won by St. Paul Central, which finished with 71 points.

Cretin-Derham Hall was second with 80 and Red Wing was third with 85.

Hastings had 146 points.

Girls varsity

The Hastings girls varsity team was led by Michaela Mills, a junior, who finished in 16:03.72. Kiki Radke, a freshman, was close behind. She came in at 16:08.81.

Ciara Christensen was 41st in 17:09.33; Bri Strandberg was 49th in 17:20.00; Kate Curtis was 65th in 18:03.86; Rachel Peterson was 76th in 19:01.52; and Abberly Smith was 85th in 20:25.13.

The girls placed seventh in the meet with 178 points. Ten teams made up the field, led by Eagan. The Wildcats finished with 21 points. East Ridge was second and Eastview was third.

Junior varsity

The Hastings boys junior varsity team was led by Brendan McCabe, who finished 16th in 20:02.43. Garrett Tuin was 20th in 20:12.13; Will Caturia was 21st in 20:14.17; Clay Fleck was 23rd in 20:16.69; Finley Myers was 28th in 20:22.53; Elijah Reilly was 44th in 21:00.48; Nick Johnson was 45th in 21:01.95; Jake Kelly was 46th in 21:03.00; Isaiah Gardell was 59th in 21:31.29; Kenny Benson was 65th in 21:44.18; James Harper was 84th in 22:27.47; Mike Tappella was 85th in 22:27.82; Hayden Schmitt was 110th in 23:07.37; David Syverson was 114th in 23:13.22; Tate Gahnz was 132nd in 24:03.80; Joshua Boyd was 133rd in 24:04.43; Dan Eggert was 148th in 24:51.91; Shawn Dold was 162nd in 25:34.12; Brandon Underwood was 164th in 25:45.70; Blake Woolard was 185th in 27:52.86 and Christian Flanders was 187th in 27:58.79.

Hastings finished third as a team with 107 points. East Ridge won the meet and Woodbury was second.

The girls junior varsity team was led by Quinn Myers, who was 42nd in 19:05.96. Also running were: Rachel Thomas, 48th, 19:11.23; Mandy Mach, 63rd, 19:52.46; and Taylor Engstrom, 64th, 19:54.09.