Benning edged by Ali in season's first race
A preview of the state cross country championships was had on Friday afternoon in Eagan during the Dakota Classic cross country meet.
Hastings senior Zack Benning and Richfield senior Obsa Ali faced off and blew away the field. In the end, Ali edged Benning by 2.8 seconds, finishing the course in 10:04.1. Benning finished in 10:06.9.
Apple Valley ended up winning the meet with a point total of just 59. Lakeville South was second. The Hastings boys finished seventh as a team.
Everyone, though, was talking about Ali and Benning.
"That will be the battle for the state title right there," head coach John Dewall said. "No question. We think Zack will be able to take him down by the end of the year."
Will Briercliffe, a sophomore, was the No. 2 runner for Hastings. He had a time of 11:56.3 and placed 34th.
"He finished right where he left off from last year," Dewall said.
Kyle Gudmunson took 43rd in 12:12.
"He just really blew it up," Dewall said. "He had a great race."
Nate Holm was 45th in 12:14 and Finley Myers was 48th in 12:21.7 to finish out the scoring.
Mike Tappella and Isaiah Gardell also ran varsity for Hastings.
The Hastings girls placed seventh out of eight teams. They were led by Michaela Mills, who was 31st in 13:50.6.
"Michaela had a great race to begin the year," Dewall said.
Quinn Myers was 34th in 14:00.8.
"That was a great performance by Quinn," Dewall said. "I could tell from practice that she was going to be right in the game. She was only 10 seconds behind MIchaela. It shows that her hard work in the summer paid off."
Ciara Christensen was 43rd in 15:05.2, Abberly Smith was 46th in 15:31.8 and Makaila England rounded out the scoring with a 47th place finish in 15:35.8.
Also running on varsity were Kailee Harrington and Rachel Peterson.
The Hastings boys junior varsity team took seventh out of nine teams.
Running on the junior varsity were:
Brendan McCabe, 19th, 12:18.0; Austin Reuter, 32nd, 12:49.6; Brandon Haraldson, 38th, 13:08.8; David Syverson, 46th, 13:28.0; Christian Flanders, 50th, 13:42.8; Seth Greengo, 51st, 13:46.4; and Victor Lindgren, 52nd, 13:52.4.
The junior varsity girls were led by CiCi Carlson. Also running was Breana Bamlet.