The second weekend of September was busy for Kennedy and Jefferson cross country programs as they hit the road south.
Jefferson headed to Decorah, Iowa and the campus of Luther College for the annual All-American meet on Saturday.
Jefferson senior Elena Hayday started her first varsity race of the season strong by winning the 5,000 meter race in 18:46.3 or 18.5 seconds ahead of runner-up Ellie Friesen of Crestwood, Iowa.
Jaguars coach Sean Faulk said Hayday was smart from the start: “She was patient in the early stages of the race, staying with the lead pack on a course with an early and late hill. That patience gave her the ability to use her speed when it mattered most. It was a good race strategy.”
The win was her first on the cross country trail having split her time with volleyball last season which limited her to four cross country races.
“This is a pretty big win for her,” the coach said as her time was among the top 15-20 posted so far in the state in only her fifth varsity cross country race.
Jefferson placed fourth as at team as several runners improved on their St. Olaf Invite results in a busy field of 26 teams from Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Jags sophomore Megan Narveson dropped a minute from her opening meet time to 20:13 to place 23th and freshman Erin Drewitz was 31st in 20:41.4 in a time three minutes quicker than last year and junior Claire Carlson in 33rd place in 20:48.0.
Jefferson sophomore Colden Longley continues to move up final standings. He was sixth overall at Luther in 17:00.9, shedding more than 30 seconds off his time from last season. “He has big goals for the end of the season,” Faulk explained as Longley was disappointed with his opening-race performance at St. Olaf in 17:43. “I thought that was fair for how he felt about it given how much work he put in this summer.”
Jefferson boys finished fifth out of 24 teams garnering 195 points with the third best spread, time between the first and fifth team runner. Senior Josh Lueth, sophomore Tim Lueth and junior Paul Cavanah finished 13 seconds apart in 31st to 37th places. “Fifth place was a big jump and the competitiveness is way up which is fun to see,” Faulk said. The older Lueth, Josh, is still searching for a personal best time after running a 17:47.0.
“He’s starting to hit his goal times and is really going to be a productive senior for us.”
Young wins at Faribault
Kennedy took part in the Faribault Invitational on Friday at North Alexander Park where junior Lloyd Young won the 5,000 meter race in 16:40, beating out Rochester Mayo’s Spencer Moore by 2.26 seconds.
Young came into the race with a different strategy of running with the pack instead of leading it so he had more energy at the end to push for the win.
Whatever the strategy was, it worked.
“He ran more patiently, running within his means,” coach Josh Coval explained. “He was able to be part of the race and watch it develop rather than try to lead it and then respond.
“I think it was a good learning experience for him having his first race end with him getting passed to his second race where he was able to watch and be part of the whole development of the thing then ultimately win with a kick.”
Being at the end of the first week of school was a good mental test, according to Coval. “As the competition gets tougher, there will be some big tests along the way. I know his time was competitive in the state, but different course yield different times, so it is a matter of focusing on the next course and the next group of competitors and just giving your best on that particular day.”
Junior teammate Joe Bergquest finished in 19:14.35, senior Caleb Bjerkeset in 19:53.91, freshmen Brady Vogt in 20:23.22 and Gannon Shilson in 20:27.91.
Eagles junior Greta Koehler led the girls team with a 38th place finish in 21:29.5. Coval said overall, several runners turned in better times including Wyatt Doppmann who was four minutes faster. Sophomore Ava Katz markedly improved to finish third on the team in 23:51.2.
Follow Jason Olson on Twitter @SunSportsJason.