In recent years, Minnesota cross-country runners have established themselves among the nation’s best. This year has been so competitive that the Edina boys’ team failed to make the Class 2A meet but managed to qualify for the Nike NXN Nationals on Dec. 6 in Portland, Ore.

Edina finished second in the Nike Heartland Regional in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Nov. 9. Wayzata, the reigning Class 2A champs, took first place in the meet.

A strong Minnesota prescence will be felt in the individual race as well in Portland. Among those racing for individual honors are Joe Klecker of Hopkins, Class 2A individual champ Connor Olson and Jaret Carpenter of Wayzata, Nick Wareham of Woodbury, Faysal Mahmoud of Burnsville, Ephraim Bird of Minnehaha Academy and Logan Ramlet of Edina.

In the girls’ race, defending champion Wayzata will get the chance to add another title to its résumé. The Trojans won the Heartland Regional and were led by senior Anna French, who finished fifth. The Edina girls finished third, East Ridge fifth, Eden Prairie ninth and Eagan 10th.

Minnesotans joining French in pursuit of the individual title include twins Bethany and Megan Hasz of Alexandria, Emma Benner of Forest Lake, Emily Betz of East Ridge, Emily Covert of Minneapolis Washburn, Michaela Keller-Mille and Annika Lerdall of Wayzata, Tess Misgen of Shakopee and Amanda Moberg of Edina.

Nelson gets national honor

Minnetonka football coach Dave Nelson will coach the offensive line for the U.S. Under-17 national team, which will play in the International Bowl Series in Arlington, Texas, in February.

The Under-17 team will play Team Canada on Feb. 7 at Maverick Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas-Arlington.

Rains a finalist

Eden Prairie running back Will Rains is one of 10 finalists for the 2014 Mr. Football Award.

Other finalists are Dalton Elliott, Nicollet; Jackson Erdmann, Rosemount; Kez Flomo, Totino-Grace; Robbie Grimsley, Hutchinson; Alex Hart, Prior Lake; John Rumpza, Blooming Prairie; John Santiago, St. Francis; Ryan Schlichte, Mankato West; Michael Veldman, Becker.

The award is given by the Minnesota Football Coaches Association. It will be presented on Nov. 30 at the DoubleTree Hilton in St. Louis Park.