Hard work and dedication have been paying off with a great season so far for Eden Prairie cross country (EPXC) runners.
As Eden Prairie High School’s team gets ready for the Lake Conference Championship Meet on Thursday, Oct. 13, here’s a recap of the team’s achievements at recent meets. Full results and schedules are available on the team’s website.
Eden Prairie Metro Invitational
On Sept. 17, EPXC hosted other metro area teams at the 57th annual Metro Invitational Cross Country Meet held at Round Lake Park.
EPXC head coach Courtney Brandon told EPLN, “It was a great event where the boys and girls course records were broken in both the boys varsity and girls varsity 5K races (15:23 for Noah Breker from Robbinsdale Armstrong, and 17:17 for Abbey Nechanicky from Wayzata).”
The EPXC boys varsity team took second place in a competitive race, with senior Nolan Bakken as the first-place EP runner. He placed 10th individually and had a time of 16:35.
Varsity girls placed sixth in a competitive field, led by sophomore Sarah Williams as the top EP runner. Williams placed 15th overall in a time of 20:13.
JV boys placed first, taking seven of the top ten finishes. Junior Jameson Drieslein finished first with a time of 17:18. The next six EP finishers were all sophomores: Tyler Dolittle, Jacob Holje, and Tate Wilker in second, third, and fourth, and Pushkal Chawla, Tavin Koenig, and Elijah Magare in eighth, ninth, and 10th.
JV girls earned their fourth place led by first-place EP finishers sophomore Macey Haase, with a time of 22:57, and freshman Marleigh Redington, with a time of 23:05.
After the meet, Brandon said, “Our kids are coming off a hard week of training and were still able to put together some solid performances.”
Mounds View Tom Watson Invitational
On Sept. 24 the Eagles competed in the Mounds View Tom Watson Invitational in Anoka. JV boys placed first, JV girls placed second, varsity girls placed third, and varsity boys placed first.
Brandon said, “There were many season and personal best times, and our athletes have been doing an incredible job of competing together as a team.”
For varsity girls, Brandon cited great runs from sophomore Williams, who placed eighth in 19:29 for the 5k race, and junior Berit Berggren, who placed twelfth in 19:38.
Boys varsity was led by Matthew Holje, Ross, Bakken, and Donaldson. “This group ran the entire race together and finished in places fifth, sixth, seventh, and ninth overall,” Brandon said.
On Oct. 3, the Eagles competed at the STMA Invitational Conference Race in St. Michael.
Brandon said EPXC runners had “a busy week between the homecoming football game, homecoming dance, and volunteering at the Twin Cities Marathon, but that didn’t stop them from running well.”
Boys varsity placed an impressive second overall with 70 points to team champion Wayzata, which had 21 points. EP’s team was led by Bakken who placed ninth overall in the 5K race with a time of 16:17.
“This season our group of boys has really bought into the pack running mentality, where they are constantly working together during workouts and races,” Brandon said. “This is very exciting to watch, and their focus on working together will only continue to benefit them as we head into our conference and section championships.”
Varsity girls placed seventh in a competitive field that had four of the state’s top 10 teams. Williams, Berggren, and freshman Katie Metzger led the way for the Eagles with times of 20:02, 20:09, and 20:36, respectively.
JV girls placed fourth, with the EP squad led by senior Nadia Al-Masri with a time of 21:20.
JV boys placed first overall, taking five of the top 10 spots. Junior Mark Derouin placed first with a time of 17:34, Wilker was second with 17:38, and and sophomore Matthew Berge was third with 17:40. Koenig was fifth with 17:54, and Magare eighth with 18:10.
Brandon said, “This team is young and there are exciting things to come this season and in the future!”
Eden Prairie Elementary cross country race
In addition to practicing and competing, EPXC’s high school runners are encouraging a love for cross country in younger Eden Prairie students. EPXC hosted its annual Eden Prairie Elementary Cross Country race on Thursday, Oct. 6, at Round Lake Park.
“This is a wonderful event that promotes teamwork, health and fitness, and fosters community,” Brandon said. “Our high school cross-country student-athletes did an awesome job of coaching and leading this fun event for third to fifth graders in Eden Prairie.”
Championship season will start on Oct. 13
EPXC is now preparing for the championship portion of the season.
Friends, family, and fellow Eden Prairie-ites are invited to cheer them on at the Lake Conference Championship Meet on Thursday, Oct. 13, at Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista. Races begin with the girls’ varsity race at 3:40 p.m.
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