Eden Prairie High School Cross Country (EPXC) runners inspired supportive teammates with their intense effort, dedication, and speed, as they competed at the Minnesota State High School League State Cross Country Championships on Nov. 5. The boys team ran fast to achieve an eighth place overall win, while sophomore Sarah Williams put in a strong performance in the girls race.
Williams made her state meet debut at the event, held at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Williams placed 105th (20:21 for 5K) individually in the Girls AAA Race.
Head coach Courtney Brandon said, “It is a different experience to compete at the state meet as an individual than as a team, but Sarah took this as her opportunity to build her confidence. It was great for her teammates to see her race at the state level, and the rest of our girls team has their sights set on joining her next season!”
The boys team finished eighth overall using strategic team tactics honed throughout the season.
“Our boys team once again raced together as a pack,” Brandon said. “They started the race conservatively, sitting 12th in the overall team standings at the first mile mark. They continued to move up as a group, finishing the race as the eighth overall team in a competitive Boys AAA Race.”
She added, “We could not be more proud of how this team worked together to achieve success.”
Sophomore Elijah Donaldson led the Eagles in 48th place overall in a personal best time of 16:29. He was followed by seniors Will Ross (64th place, 16:42) and Nolan Bakken (68th place, 16:45), junior Jake Heimkes (74th place, 16:48), senior Matthew Holje (89th place, 16:57), junior Jameson Drieslein (90th place, 16:57), and sophomore Tyler Doolittle (92nd place, 16:58).
“It was really special to see so many of our EPXC student-athletes make the trip to St. Olaf to support their team,” Brandon said. “Our group this year has been a family —supporting one another through the hard workouts, as well as the successes.”
She said, “Although we are graduating some of our top runners for our boys and girls team, our seniors have set the foundation for success and hard work for future Eagles runners.”
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