BOYS NIKE HEARTLAND PREVIEW
Jake Leingang will be unable to defend his Nike Heartland title since he’s in the process of ripping through cross country courses at the University of Oregon. However, his old team, the Demons of Bismarck High School will still be in the familiar position of being in the hunt for a return trip to Portland.
Speaking of the road to NXN: this season will offer a most challenging route for any team or individual, as a substantial chunk of the Top 21 runners return and parity is strong among the top teams.
It’s a silly sports cliché, but it truly will take a total team effort to make NXN for whomever ends up in the Top 2 team spots this season.
On an individual level, the highlight of the meet should be the “Roy Griak Re-Match”, as the 1-2-3 placers, Obsa Ali (MN), Olin Hacker (WI) and Addison Dehaven (SD, cover picture), all won their respective state championships and will be viewable at the front of the pack at Yankton Trails on Sunday.
The three distance stars of the Heartland were separated by just three seconds at Griak and the outcome on Sunday could be much the same.
The only topic up for debate will be the order of finish this time around.
Now for the fine-print.
Addison Dehaven, Brookings HS- Two-time state cross country champion; won state meet by nearly 30 seconds; 2011 Footlocker Finalist; 9:01.13 for 2-Miles
Will Lauer, S.F. Lincoln HS- #2 in the Class AA State Meet; 9th @ Griak
Free Bump, S.F. Lincoln HS- #3 in the Class AA State Meet (16:09)
Nathan Schroeder, S.F. Lincoln HS- #4 in the Class AA State Meet; 9:32 3200m
Sioux Falls Lincoln is far-and-away the best boys team in South Dakota. They scored 32 points and placed seven runners on the All-State team (that’s combined results of the AA, A and B races). If the “Murphys” run to their potential at the Nike Heartland Meet, they will turn heads.
Matt Gotta, Bismarck HS- Class A state champion (15:50)
Sam Clausnitzer, Bismarck HS- Class A runner-up (16:00)
We could probably just save this paragraph for next year and the year after, because the way it looks, Bismarck, who scored 29 points at their state meet, is going to be on top of North Dakota for a long time. Take a quick look through their MileSplit “Season Bests” lists and you’ll see what we mean.
Like mentioned in the girl’s preview, Wayzata is good. Edina makes the battle closer in the Gopher State, but Wayzata should come out as the #1 MN team at the Nike Heartland Region as Olson’s low-stick will help tremendously in the large Nike field.
I think it’s safe to say Obsa Ali is the best cross country runner in Minnesota. A win at Griak and then a one-shoed win at the state meet while being sick will give you that title.
Connor Olson, Wayzata HS: Class AA runner-up to Ali (15:17)
Isaiah Barlow, Hutchinson HS: Class AA 3rd place finisher (15:32); 9:25 3200m
Jacob McDermott, Cretin-Derham Hall: Class AA 4th place (15:33); 4:14 1600m
Prairie High School won the Class 4A Championship over Johnston (81-116) with a 15:51 average. Johnston could be a strong factor at the Nike meet with their 29 second 1-5 split.
There were four guys at the Iowa State Cross Country Championships that stood above the rest.
Chandler Austin, Boone HS: Class 3A Champion (15:05)
Michael Melchert, Monticello HS: 2A State Champion (15:18)
Josh Evans, Linn-Mar HS: 4A State Champion (15:19)
Thomas Pollard, Gilbert HS: Class 2A Runner-Up (15:20)
Olin Hacker, Madison West: DI Champion (15:46); ran 15:22 at his conference meet; 2nd at Griak
Ryan Nameth, Verona Area: DI Runner-Up (15:51)
Taylor Floyd-Mews, Wauwatosa East: DI 3rd Place (15:55)
Trent Powell, River Powell: DI 4th Place (15:58)
Stevens Point won the largest classification by nearly 40 points and had a nice 35 second split. Their top runner, Evan Hatton was 12th, so their depth was apparent.
Millard South and Fremont had a great battle at the state meet, with Millard South coming out on top by just 8 points. Both teams are very balanced as their 1-5 splits were both under 45 seconds. Scottsbluff was the Class B champion, winning by over 40 points.
Wyatt McGuire, North Platte HS: Class A State Champion (15:26)
Seth Hirsch, Millard West HS: Class A Runner-Up (15:45)
Matthew Barraza, Scottsbluff HS: Class B State Champion (15:57)
Manhattan High School is leaps and bounds faster than the rest of Kansas. Placing 2, 5, 6, 7 and 11, Manhattan had just a 32 second spread at their state meet.
Stuart McNutt, Blue Valley West HS: Class 6A State Champion (15:33)
Chris Melgares, Manhattan HS: Class 6A Runner-Up (15:56)
Sam Guinn, Blue Valley Northwest HS: Class 6A 3rd Place (15:57)