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Raider boys place 7th at cross country sections

Members of the Hastings girls cross country team take off at the start of Thursday's section finals in Owatonna. (Photo by Chad Richardson)1 / 5
The Hastings boys cross country team starts its 5K race at Brooktree Golf Course in Owatonna last Thursday. (Photo by Chad Richardson)2 / 5
Bri Strandberg nears the finish line.3 / 5
Zack Benning was one of the top Hastings finishers.4 / 5
Ben Jackson races for Hastings at the section meet.5 / 5

A very young Hastings boys cross country team made quite an impression at the section meet Thursday in Owatonna. The Raiders placed seventh out of 14 teams. The team didn't have a senior competing on varsity, and the team's top two runners are freshmen.

"I thought our boys really came together as a team," coach John Dewall said. "They didn't surprise us, but we knew there was a lot of talent there at that meet. We were certainly happy to finish in the upper half of that event."

The strong finish has Dewall excited about the prospects for the next few seasons.

"Next year, and the year after, there's no doubt, they could win this thing," he said. "They have the talent. There's no doubt about it. If they progress and stick together, they certainly have a shot at pulling down a section title in a year or two."

That won't happen, though, without a lot of hard work between now and when the 2011 season begins in August.

"These kids are going to have to be on a mission. They have to realize cross county doesn't start in August. They're going to have to work at it, play some other sports and train in the summer. When they hit the ground running in August of next year, they have to be better than where they are right now so we can work with them and bring them to their top level."

Hastings finished with 208 points.

Owatonna won the race with 54 points and Lakeville North was second with 61.

Zack Benning led the Raiders with a 23rd-place finish and a time of 17 minutes, 8.6 seconds.

Colby Smith placed 24th in 17:09.5.

Joseph Rabaey placed 47th in 17:41.7.

Riley Tarrant took 49th in 17:44.7.

Christian Weiland placed 65th in 18:20.2.

Lucas Human placed 73rd with a time of 18:32.2.

Ben Jackson took 94th in 19:35.8.

Girls varsity

The Hastings girls team placed 14th out of 14 teams in the meet with 357 points.

Bri Strandberg led Hastings with a 38th-place finish with a time of 16:13.3.

Strandberg had her sights set on a trip to the state meet this year after just missing out last year with an 11th-place finish. The top 10 runners in each section advance.

"We were a little disappointed for Bri," Dewall said. "We thought we'd get her to state. She trained hard all year. There are disappointments along the way. We're just going to regroup and kick it up. Bri was good after the race. She took in stride. She had goals that she didn't quite achieve, but she realizes that we're going to have to work harder and bring things along to get to state next year."

The girls team is young, too, including a pair of seventh-graders who compete on varsity.

"There's a good solid group of girls, but we need more," Dewall said. "That's the key here. We have to pull these girls along, but we're going to need a good support staff of kids coming out."

Helen Jensen placed 51st in 16:35.8.

Juliann Moes was 86th in 17:58.6.

Nicole Froehling was 90th in 18:06.6.

Makaila England placed 92nd in 18:11.5.

Allissa Smith finished 97th in 19:08.1.

Lakeville South won the meet with 40 and Lakeville North was second with 84.

Junior varsity

The Hastings junior varsity team competed in the meet.

Timothy Zappa led the Hastings contingent with a time of 19:41.8. He placed 56th.

Isaiah Gardell was 69th in 20:01.2.

Jacob Rachuy finished 71st in 20:04.3.

David Syverson placed 86th in 21:15.9.

Michael Stricker placed 92nd in 22:06.8.

Brian Gapp finished 95th in 23:25.6.