Cross Country: Willmar girls 5th at Class AA meet; Seifert 19th in boys race
NORTHFIELD — A junior leading three ninth-graders and a seventh-grader posted the best finish yet by a Willmar team at the girls Class AA State Cross Country meet Saturday at St. Olaf College.
Junior Sam Hanson, freshmen Jessa Hanson, Sophie Schmitz, and Kayla Rudie and seventh-grader Serena Monson placed fifth, a point behind fourth-place Chanhassen and seven off a podium finish.
In five previous state appearances, the Cardinals girls’ best placement was seventh (1992 and 2002). A year ago, the Cards placed 10th.
Individually, it was a big day for Section 8AA which the Cardinals won. Twin sophomore sisters Bethany and Megan Hasz of Alexandria finished 1-2 and Jenna Truedson of Bemidji place third. Bemidji placed 10th among the 16 team qualifiers.
In the boys 5,000-meter run, Willmar senior Thomas Seifert sprinted by several runners coming down the long finishing channel packed with fans cheering wildly to place 19th, an all-state designation. He dropped 33 seconds (to 16:07) and improved 62 places from a year ago in his third time touring the playing fields at St. Olaf College.
Sophomore teammate Nadir Yusuf also ran a strong race in his second State trip (he ran on the Cardinals’ 2011 team qualifier). He placed 43rd in 16:24. A 5:17 pace for the 3.1-mile course.
Samantha Hanson said she felt a little slower than a year ago and she was timing 15:01 for the 2.5 mile run compared to 14:53 as a sophomore. Her sister Jenna dropped 12 seconds to 15:04. Monson, who joined the varsity team in October, was No. 3 for Willmar in 15:17 and then Schmitz in 15:23.
“There’s so many girls it feels like you’re barely moving,” said Schmitz. “Then you look at the time and it’s fast. This proves we’re a top team. It was just a good day.”
(1) Wayzata 53 (2) Edina 66 (3) Stillwater 99 (4) Rosemount 159 (5) Hutchinson 198
TOP FIVE — (1) Obsa Ali, Richfield, 15:15 (2) Connor Olson, Wayzata, 15:17 (3) Isaiah Barlow, Hutchinson, 15:32 (4) Jacob McDermott, Cretin-Derham Hall, 15:33 (5) Zach Benning, Hasting, 15:36
WILLMAR — (19) Thomas Seifert 16:07 (43) Nadir Yusuf 16:24
(1) Wayzata 37 (2) East Ridge 134 (3) Lakeville South 165 (4) Chanhassen 171 (5) Willmar 172 (6) Eden Prairie 189
TOP FIVE — (1) Bethany Hasz, Alexandria, 13:53 (2) Megan Hasz, Alexandria, 14:13 (3) Jenna Truedson, Bemidji, 14:19 (4) Anna Van Wyk, Eagan, 14:30 (5) Emily Betz, East Ridge, 14:30
WILLMAR (places by team points) — (23) Samantha Hanson 15:01 (24) Jessa Hanson 15:04 (33) Serena Monson 15:17 (39) Sophie Schmitz 15:23 (53) Kayla Rudie 15:39 (77) Savannah Anez 16:12 (97) Tara Rudie 16:41