East Ridge's Ness has Dad's skills, headed to Dad's school

  • Article by: AARON PAITICH , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 22, 2014 - 5:04 PM

Bailey Ness excels at distance running as her father did, and she’s headed to the U, where he was an All-America.

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Bailey Ness put together a strong senior cross-country season at East Ridge, winning the Suburban East championship, and she hopes to add to her success during track season.

Photo: Laura Ness • Special to the Star Tribune,

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Lloyd Ness ran track-and-field and cross-country for the Gophers back in the day. He was an All-America in 1981 for the cross-country team, helping Minnesota to a 12th-place finish at the NCAA meet. He was also an NCAA track-and-field All-America in the 10,000-meter run.

His daughter, Bailey, a senior at East Ridge, is following his footsteps.

“My dad tried to not push the U, but it was pretty obvious that he wanted me to go there,” Bailey said. “It was definitely my decision in the end when I decided that the U was the school that I wanted to go to.

“I loved the team and the coach. I felt like they were a great fit for me. I also loved the location of the school.”

She appears to be a fit with the Gophers, too.

“Bailey had a phenomenal senior cross-country season after struggling with iron issues as a junior,” Gophers track-and-field coach Sarah Hopkins said in a release. “She ran a sub-14:00 4k to win the Suburban East title and was a top-40 finisher at the Nike National Championships. She is a tough runner who is only scratching the surface of how good she can be. Bailey is a second-generation Gopher cross-country runner, as her dad is an alum and former Big Ten champion in the 10,000-meter. I am so excited to see the journey that Bailey creates for herself during the next four years.”

After addressing an iron deficiency, Ness put together an impressive campaign this past year. She won the 2013 Suburban East Conference cross-country title and also qualified for the Nike Cross Nationals, one of the most prestigious events in the country.

Ness ran a 14:54.5 at the cross-country state meet, good for 16th place overall. Her teammate, Emily Betz, ran a 14:33.1, which put her at fifth place as an individual. The Raptors, as a team, finished fifth in the state.

“I would definitely be keeping an eye on Brenley Goertzen and Emily Betz,” Ness said. “They both qualified for state individually last year, and I’m sure that they will go back even better.”

Ness also competed in the Class 2A state track-and-field meet in the 4x800-meter relay as a junior, and her team took 14th.

She hopes to get her times down this year and set some personal records.

“I think the team will be solid this year,” Ness said. “We have some talented and hard-working girls.”

The state features plenty of talent that will make East Ridge’s job that much more difficult. The South Suburban and Lake Conferences are loaded, and the Suburban East is no slouch, either. Cretin-Derham Hall, Roseville, Mounds View, Stillwater and Forest Lake all placed in the top 25 at the state meet last spring.

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