West-metro runners made a strong showing at the Nike Cross Nationals high school cross-country meet in Portland, Ore., on Dec. 5.

Hopkins, the reigning Class 2A boys’ state champion, finished seventh, with Edina 13th and Wayzata, led by a fourth-place finish from Class 2A state champion Jaret Carpenter, was 14th.

On the girls’ side, Willmar took ninth and Edina, which won the Class 2A team championship in November, was 16th.

Alexandria’s Bethany Hasz, the 2A individual state champion last month, took fifth place.

Breaking out

In west-metro youth hockey circles, Mike Koster was well known. The way Chaska’s early breakout star has played this season, it won’t be long before his fame spreads.

Koster, a freshman defenseman in his first year as a varsity player, scored nine goals in the Hawks’ first seven games, including a pair of hat tricks. He tallied three goals in a 4-0 victory over Cambridge-Isanti on Nov. 24 and added another in a 5-3 victory over Waconia on Dec. 3.

Worth noting

• After a season-opening loss, the Orono boys’ hockey team, under new coach Mark Parrish, had won five consecutive games going into Thursday’s game at Blake. Four players have six or more points, led by Riley Vieth with nine.

• Hopkins’ eighth-grade guard Paige Bueckers showed off the potential girls’ basketball wonks have seen in her in the Class 4A, top-ranked Royals’ 78-63 victory over No. 3 Elk River on Dec. 3. Bueckers made six of seven three-point attempts to finish with a career-high 22 points.

Jim Paulsen