Temperatures are moderating, meaning the cross-country season is heating up. Saturday was a big day for some of the state’s best boys’ teams, and next Saturday will be the biggest day of the regular season for Minnesota’s runners on grassy surfaces.
The 10th annual Heartland Cross-Country Classic was held Saturday in Ames, Iowa, and included some of the best teams from five states: Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Kansas. Hopkins won championships in both the boys’ and girls’ races. Hopkins, led by senior Owen Hoeft’s third-place finish, won the boys’ race with a team score of 53, 28 cumulative places ahead of Edina, which was second with a score of 81. The team results flip-flopped the most recent Class 2A state rankings, which had Edina ranked No. 1 and Hopkins No. 2.
Three of the biggest meets of the season — the Roy Griak Invitational, Milaca Mega-Meet and the Apple Valley Eagle Invitational — will all take place Saturday.
The Griak, named after the longtime Gophers track and field coach, is a combined college and high school meet attracting top teams to the Les Bolstad Golf Course. The collegiate races take place in the morning, and the high school races begin at 2:30 p.m. There were 106 boys’ teams and 102 girls’ teams — many from outstate, some coming from as far as California — entered.
There are 148 teams and more than 6,000 runners registered for the Milaca Mega-Meet, held at the Stones Throw Golf Course in Milaca. Varsity racing begins at noon. The Apple Valley Eagle Invite isn’t deep — just 16 boys’ and 16 girls’ teams — but it’s a high-quality field with such teams as Edina, Wayzata (boys’ only), St. Michael-Albertville and Lakeville North. Races kick start at 9:45 a.m.
The week ahead
Friday: Prior Lake at Eden Prairie, 7 p.m.; Belle Plaine at Tri-City United, 7 p.m.
Saturday: Mound-Westonka at Minneapolis Henry, 1 p.m. Two of the biggest surprises of the season. Both teams are 5-0.
Friday-Saturday: Apple Valley Eagle Invitational. 16 teams in the regular-season field of the season. Among the teams entered at Eagan, Lakeville South, Prior Lake, Roseville, Eden Prairie, Marshall and Faribault Bethlehem Academy. Matches begin at 5 p.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
Saturday: Minneapolis Southwest at Minneapolis South, 4 p.m.
Thursday: Eagan at Burnsville, 5 p.m.