1. One final charge
Cross-country observers have long anticipated big things from the boys in the class of 2015. Now seniors, the group’s time has come. Wayzata’s Connor Olson took runner-up last fall while leading the Trojans to the team title at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Burnsville’s Faysal Mahmoud seeks his third consecutive top-10 finish in the 5,000-meter race while Chaska’s Joey Duerr hopes to make it three out of four for top-10 finishes after an injury-plagued junior season. Hopkins’ Joe Klecker took third at state as a sophomore and St. Michael-Albertville’s Chase Cayo (sixth) and Edina’s Logan Ramlet (10th) made big gains last fall. Farmington’s Justin Hyytinen added himself to the mix with solid finishes at the state track meet last spring. He placed third in the 1,600-meter run and seventh in the 3,200.
2. Trojan horses
The Wayzata boys’ team captured its seventh state title since 1992. The Trojans girls’ program won its second state championship overall, defending its 2012 victory in the process. It adds up to a school on top of the distance-running heap regardless of gender. Neither team is ready to concede. Six of seven runners from the boys’ championship team return. All coach Bill Miles is concerned about is injury and overconfidence. The girls were more dominant a year ago, winning the state meet by almost 100 points. Four of the top seven are gone, leaving the talented trio of Anna French, Annika Lerdall and Michaela Keller-Miller to lead a deep group of Wayzata runners eager to go for a third title.
3. Longer girls' race postponed
A plan to increase the distance for girls’ races from a 4K (2.5 miles) to a 5K (3.1 miles) starting in the fall of 2015 has been proposed by a subcommittee of the Minnesota State High School League. Minnesota is one of only 10 states in which girls compete in shorter races than boys during the regular season. The proposal, advocated by the cross-country association, faces internal review and is expected to get consideration from the league’s board of directors as soon as February, associate director Lisa Lissimore said. Last fall the coaches association surveyed its members and found 61 percent in favor of moving up to the 5K distance for girls.