Swain Invitational: Runners remember Glencoe-Silver Lake athlete

The spirit of Caty Delwiche was celebrated at Saturday's 57th Swain Invitational high school cross country meet at Enger Park Golf Course. It was 50 degrees and windy along the hills for the runners, but those who knew Delwiche said there was war...

The spirit of Caty Delwiche was celebrated at Saturday's 57th Swain Invitational high school cross country meet at Enger Park Golf Course.

It was 50 degrees and windy along the hills for the runners, but those who knew Delwiche said there was warmth from within.

The Glencoe-Silver Lake (Minn.) team was racing just four days after Delwiche died in an accident Tuesday in Mankato, Minn. The Minnesota State-Mankato freshman from Glencoe was on a cross country training run on a city sidewalk when hit from behind by a car that had crossed several lanes of traffic and jumped the curb. She was 18.

Her funeral was Friday.

"All I could think about today was how she would've wanted us to be here and run,'' said Glencoe-Silver Lake senior Kenny Fillbrandt, a close friend of Delwiche's. "On the bus, our coach [Scott Eckhoff] told us to run for Caty. That helped. It was motivation and I could feel it right here, inside.


"She was tough and she was an inspiration to many, and a role model for all of us.''

Eighty schools and nearly 2,700 runners competed in the event and many were familiar with the story from Glencoe, a town of 5,400 in south-central Minnesota.

Class A girls winner Marissa Janning, an eighth-grader from Watertown-Mayer (Minn.), ran against Delwiche for the first time in the 2006 Swain Invitational and they became good friends despite a five-year age difference. Janning said they kept in contact through e-mail and phone conversations, and lived just

20 minutes apart.

Janning went to the visitation for Delwiche on Thursday and had written her friend's name on her shoes before Saturday's race.

"I looked at my shoes and knew I wanted to be running for her today,'' Janning said. "It still hasn't sunk into me yet. I don't want to believe that she's gone forever.''

Delwiche placed fifth in the 2006 Swain Invitational Class A girls race and was 20th in the Class A state meet. She was a 2007 class valedictorian at Glencoe-Silver Lake High School.

Delwiche's brother, ninth-grader Stephen, ran in the Class A boys varsity race Saturday. His parents, Jeff and Michelle, were among the spectators.


"Every parent thinks their kids are great, but Caty really was something special and Stephen was her best friend,'' said Jeff Delwiche, a 1981 Minnesota Duluth graduate, who ran for the Bulldogs.

The Mankato driver of the Honda SUV which struck Caty Delwiche wasn't injured. Mankato teammate Laura Palmer of Pittsville, Wis., riding a bike alongside Delwiche, also was hit and then was treated at a hospital and released Wednesday. The incident is being investigated.

Class AA Girls

In her last two races, Grand Rapids ninth-grader Morgan Illikainen says she started too fast and faded. She took a different approach Saturday and won in 16 minutes, 16.9 seconds for 4,000 meters.

"I was fifth or sixth for a while, and then third, and probably didn't take the lead until one kilometer from the finish,'' said Illikainen, the top runner for Grand Rapids the last two years. "I worked together with (Cloquet's) Becca Sorenson on the first lap and my plan was to stick with her.''

She led Grand Rapids to a second straight Swain Invitational team title. Eighth-grade teammate Marissa Salo was eighth in 16:35.5, while defending champion Sorenson placed 18th in 16:58.1. The Thunderhawks edged No. 10-rated Visitation 90-94.

r Watertown-Mayer's Janning stopped a Blake win streak with her Class A victory. Blake runners Claire Richardson (2003-05) and Katharine Chute (2006) had combined for four straight Swain Invitational titles.

Janning won in 15:42.6, 17 seconds ahead of Blake junior Margaret Chute in 15:59.2. Esko senior Kaycee Knutson was fourth in 16:32, then hustled to play in the third-place game of the Esko Invitational volleyball tournament. .


No. 7 Holy Family Catholic of Victoria, Minn., won the team title.

Class AA Boys

Robel Kebede was in the shadow of unbeaten Class AA state champion teammate Hassan Mead last season as the No. 2 runner at Minneapolis South. Now he's No. 1 on his team and ranked No. 3 in Class AA.

Kebede, a junior, won in 16:40.8 for 5,000 meters, 18 seconds ahead of Minneapolis Southwest senior Joe Wells. Minneapolis South also won the team title, four points ahead of Bemidji. Mead won the 2006 Swain Invitational in 15:58.6.

"My main goal this year is to stay healthy. At first I wanted to finish in the top 10 at the state meet, now it's the top four,'' said Kebede, who has three wins this season.

The top Northland finisher was Grand Rapids junior Pat Richie, third in 17:10, while Duluth East senior Scott Behling was 11th in 17:35.9. The defending champion Greyhounds were fourth.

r St. Anthony Village's Andrew Hoffman won the Class A boys race in 17:18.7, while Esko senior Bryan Lindquist was second in 17:23.1 in a two-man duel. Glencoe-Silver Lake's Fillbrandt was third in 17:36.2, while Chisholm senior Adam Stainiger was sixth.

Lindquist was sick during his last race, Sept. 27 in Hibbing, and didn't finish, but said he was much improved Saturday.


No. 8 Plainview-Elgin-Millville won with 121 points.

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