The Hastings boys' and girls' cross-country teams ran their first meet of the season Friday, Sept. 1, in Rosemount at the 16th annual Irish Invite. The Irish Invite is one of the largest, if not the largest, meet that the Raiders will compete in all year, with 24 teams competing in the boys' varsity division and 22 in the girls.
The Raider boys took 17th out of 24 teams and had three runners place in the top 100. The girls' team placed 20th and had one runner in the top 20. The meet was a 2-mile race, while most cross-country races are usually 5 kilometers, or just over 3 miles.
The top runner overall for the Raiders was freshman Linnea Urban, who finished 18th in her first ever cross-country race with a time of 12:11.7.
Senior David Nogle was the top runner for the boys in his first ever varsity cross-country race as well. He took 25th with a time of 10 minutes and 23.8 seconds. Nogle was an excellent distance runner for the Hastings track and field team last year and is trying to transfer that to cross-country.
"I think the biggest difference is probably that there is always somebody to pass," Nogle said. "You've got 10 times the amount of people, so if you feel the pack is going away from you, you can get back up and pass two more people. There is always somebody to pass because there are so many runners."
Nogle said he has two main goals for this season.
"I would like to go to state, that's probably the big one," he said. "I'd like to possibly break 16:30 on the 5 kilometer (standard race), those are the big two."
Junior Eric Howd took 67th in 10:56.4, while senior standout runner Griffin Myers placed 79th with a time of 11:02.6. The Hastings boys then had four runners place within eight spots of each other: sophomore Devon Haraldson in 131st (11:31.8), junior Austin Weeks in 135th (11:35.0), sophomore Luke Harris in 137th (11:37.0) and sophomore Isaac Huntington (11:38.0).
Besides Urban, the rest of the Raider girls finished close together. Freshman Emma Bratvold finished 117th in 13:50.8, sophomore Joyce Oseko took 129th with a time of 14:04.6, junior Megan Mattson placed 133rd (14:12.0) and freshman Linnea Hanson finished 141st (14:23.0).
"I thought both boys and girls teams raced extremely well, it's always good to see where they're at even though it's a 2-mile race," head coach John Dewall said. "We had a time-trial here about two weeks ago and just about everyone beat their time on the track, which is huge, thinking that you run a time trial on a track, it should be faster than a race on the grass. So today most kids beat their time, some by 30 seconds or more, so that was very, very impressive. A 2-mile is a good indication of where you can go in a 3-mile."