Cross country: Minnesota section meets on tap this week

Minnesota goes to three classes for the first time.

Boys varsity runners leave the starting area during the Lake Superior Conference cross country meet on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, at Grand View Golf Course in Duluth. Miles Fischer (1431) of Cloquet won the race with a time of 16 minutes 50 seconds. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

The Section 7 boys and girls cross country meets will have a little different look this week as Minnesota went to three classes this year.

Duluth East will compete in the Section 7AAA meet Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, at Anoka High School in the Twin Cities. The girls run at 3:15 p.m. with the boys at 4 p.m.

Teams competing include Anoka, Andover, Blaine, Centennial, Coon Rapids, Forest Lake and Cambridge-Isanti. East’s girls have a chance to be first or second while the boys will likely finish a bit further back.

The Greyhound girls have been very consistent, winning all races except the Milaca Mega Meet where they finished third for their level. Sophomore Rowan Bixler, senior Cora Nephew and freshman Anna-Britta Helmer have been very close, all being the top runner at different times. Junior Oliver Miatke has been the top boy followed by sophomore Ben Blascyk.


Duluth East's Aidan Thibault, left, and Tate Johnson compete in the Twin Ports Invitational Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, at Lester Park Golf Course. Jamey Malcomb / Duluth News Tribune

The Section 7A and 7AA meets are Thursday, Oct. 28, at Cloquet Country Club. The Class A girls are at 11 a.m. and the boys at 11:45 a.m., with the Class AA girls at 3 p.m. and the boys at 3:45 p.m.

For Class A, Cromwell-Wright junior Noah Foster is a heavy favorite among boys while the Mountain Iron-Buhl twin sophomores Kate and Liz Nelson are the top girls runners, often flip-flopping who wins.

Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin and Esko are among the top teams, while the girls team race is wide open.

For Class AA, Rock Ridge has strong boys and girls teams with junior Cameron Stocke and senior Aaron Nelson being among the top boys individuals. Stocke finished second last year at the Section 7A meet to Geno Uhrbom, now running at the University of North Dakota.

Della Bettendorf (1631) and Lizzy Harnell (1636), both of Proctor, beat Grace McCormick of Hibbing to the finish line during the Lake Superior Conference cross country meet on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, at Grand View Golf Course in Duluth. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Both the Cloquet and Proctor boys and girls will be strong.


While third-year Cloquet coach Chandra Allen wasn’t about to pick favorites, the Lumberjacks have to feel good about finally coming out of the shadows of the old two-class format, where they were one of the smallest schools in Class AA.

Junior Miles Fischer, senior Jake Mertz and senior Sam Buytaert lead the boys team while sophomore Elise Cawcutt, junior Charlotte Ripp and eighth-grader Bri LaCore are among the girls leaders.

“I think that if our boys continue to run the way they have run in the last few weeks, they have a good shot of making it to state as a team,” Allen said. “As for the girls, we have three that could potentially make it as individuals.”

Tayler McMeekin of Superior approaches the finish line during the Lake Superior Conference cross country meet on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, at Grand View Golf Course in Duluth. McMeekin won the race with at time of 19 minutes and 20 seconds. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Lake Superior Conference girls individual champion Tayler McMeekin, a freshman from Superior, headlines the list of runners from Northwestern Wisconsin competing at the state meet Saturday, Oct. 30, at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.

Superior coach Lee Sims was pleased with how the Spartans ran at its Division I sectional Saturday, Oct. 23, at Maple Grove Venues in West Salem Wisconsin, with McMeekin sixth in 19:11.9.

“We beat the teams I thought were possible to beat and had lots of season and all-time personal bests, but the highlight of the day though was Tayler McMeekin’s state qualifying race,” Sims said. “It has been since 2012 with Leah Holmes that Superior has sent a runner to state in cross country, so we are very excited for her.”

What To Read Next
Senior Hope Carlson led all scorers with 22 points for the Rails.
The Greyhounds senior — a “self-made” shooter, according to coach Rhett McDonald — made eight 3-pointers against the Spartans.
The senior went 15-for-15 from the free-throw line and scored 27 points.
The All-American swimmer leads the area in every individual swimming category except the 100-yard breaststroke.