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Season's biggest meet is here

The goal all season long for the Hastings cross country teams has been to improve and be at their best come the section meet.

Today, Thursday, Hastings will find out whether or not it has achieved that goal.

The boys and girls teams run today at Brooktree Golf Course in Owatonna for a chance to compete at the state meet. Any runner placing in the top 10 will advance to next weekend's state meet, and the Raiders have at least a few athletes who will be vying for spots at the state meet.

Last season, then-freshman Bri Strandberg placed 11th at the meet and she is hoping to crack the top 10 this year. The boys have a couple runners who could take one of the top 10 spots, too.

"We'd like to get a couple kids on each team to the state meet," Hastings coach John Dewall said. "Obviously, we want to place as high as we can as a team, too."

The high temperature in Owatonna on Thursday is going to be approximately 36 degrees. There will be a 20 mile-per-hour wind that runners will have to contend with as well.

"We checked the weather, and it is going to be crazy," Dewall said. "When you have inclement weather, it will even out the playing field. It helps us that the weather will be inclement. It evens out the field.

"It becomes a matter of: Who is more hungry for it?"

The boys junior varsity race is set for 3 p.m. at Brooktree. The girls varsity race is at 3:30 p.m. and the boys varsity race is at 4 p.m. The final race of the day is the girls junior varsity race, which will be run at 4:30 p.m.

SEC meet

The regular season concluded last week for the cross country teams at the Suburban East Conference meet. The meet was held in Stacy at the Falcon Ridge Golf Course.

Dewall was happy with what he saw from his young and inexperienced teams.

"Our teams ran well," he said. "There were a lot of personal bests. A lot of these kids, three-quarters of them, had their personal bests. They were all pretty happy. It was a perfect day to run, and there were some very competitive races out there."

The Hastings boys placed eighth out of 10 teams.

The Raiders were led by Zack Benning, a freshman who placed 23rd in 16 minutes, 34 seconds. Benning earned all-conference honorable mention honors with his finish.

Fellow freshman Colby Smith was 37th in 17:02.

Joseph Rabaey placed 45th in 17:24. He is a sophomore.

Lucas Human, a junior, placed 56th in 17:48.

Sophomore Christian Weiland placed 59th in 17:53.

Junior Mohamed Osman placed 61st in 18:02.

The Stillwater boys won the meet with 48 points. Roseville was second (63 points) and White Bear Lake was third.

Hastings finished with 213 points.

The Hastings girls placed eighth out of 10 teams.

The Raiders were led by sophomore Bri Strandberg, who placed 24th with a time of 15:29. She earned all conference honorable mention honors with her finish.

Helen Jensen, a seventh-grader, was 43rd in 16:08.

Juliann Moes placed 51st in 16:50.

Nicole Froehling took 58th in 17:17.

Makaila England placed 59th in 17:22.

Alissa Smith placed 60th in 17:43.

East Ridge won the girls race with 58 points. Roseville was second with 60 and Mounds View third with 76.

Hastings finished with 235 points.

Junior varsity

The Hastings junior varsity boys competed in the race, too.

Finishers were:

Timothy Zappa, 59th, 19:30; Isaiah Gardell, 62nd, 19:51; Michael Stricker, 64th, 20:56; David Syverson, 65th, 21:04; Jason Schultz, 68th, 21:43; Kyle Stapleton, 69th, 21:56; and

Brian Gapp, 70th, 22:27.