It wasn't that long ago that Flanagan, a junior, didn't feel she could beat Shakopee's Maria Hauger.
They are friends when not competing, and Flanagan, the 2011 Class 1A individual champion, had never finished ahead of Hauger, the three-time Class 2A state champion, until last spring.
That's when Flanagan took second and Hauger third in the 3,200-meter run at the Hamline Elite Track and Field meet.
Finally over the hump and brimming with confidence, last week Flanagan finally beat Hauger in a cross-country race, taking first place at the Gerry Smith Invitational at Montgomery. It was the first time that Hauger had lost a high school race since she was in eighth grade.
"Clare was excited before the race to be running against good competition," Blake coach Gary Lee said. "She doesn't always get that during the season."
After running together for the first half of the race, Flanagan made her move early in the race's second half. Hauger failed to go with her and Flanagan pulled away, winning the 4K race in a personal-best time of 13:55.
"It didn't surprise me to see what she did," Lee said. "I've watched her improve day in and day out. She is so smart. She knew exactly what she needed to do. It's fun to watch somebody run the plan like that."
The Bears won three times last week. The junior midfielder had six goals and an assist, including a hat trick in a 4-0 victory over Mounds Park Academy and both goals in a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Richfield.
In just his second start at quarterback, Baker rushed 10 times for 256 yards in a 36-17 victory over Litchfield, scoring on runs of 6, 50 and 83 yards. He also made eight tackles from his outside linebacker position.
The 2011 National Sophomore of the Year has picked up right where she left off. In leading the No. 1, Class 3A Panthers to an 8-0 start, the junior outside hitter has 147 kills, 67 defensive digs and a .395 hitting percentage.
The junior running back had his second 200-yard-plus outing of the season in a 31-20 victory over St. Anthony. He ran 22 times for 254 yards and three touchdowns, giving him 478 yards in two games.
The junior paced the Skippers to the championship of the Minnetonka Invite, the biggest meet of the year to date. She won the 100- and 200-yard freestyles and swam on the winning 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams.
The Spartans had a 5-0 week and won the Visitation Tournament. The senior outside hitter provided the spark with 53 kills, 19 blocks and a .505 kill percentage.