Thursday night in Mankato, despite a light rainfall, the Mankato Loyola/Cleveland cross country program played host to seven total programs in the Loyola/Cleveland Invite.
On the boys side, where six teams competed, WEM/JWP took first place with ML/C taking second, TCU earning third, LS-H finishing fourth, Mayer Lutheran/LPWHT taking fifth and Maple River finishing sixth.
The girls race saw ML/LPWHT take first, LS-H finish second, G-F-W earn third, TCU finish fourth, ML/C take fifth, Maple River earn sixth and WEM/JWP round out the competition finishing seventh..
The Mankato Loyola/Cleveland girls team finished fifth overall with a team score of 96.
Eighth grader Kathryn Huisken led the team with a time of 23:29 to earn eighth place. Freshman Rachel Ammann (23:36) finished 10th and eighth grader Molly Koester (23:45) finished 12th to round out top performers.
The boys team finished the event second overall with a team score of 50 points, just six more than first place WEM/JWP.
Sophomore Nathan Strobel led the way for the team with a time of 18:36 to finish fourth. Junior James Younge (19:05) finished sixth overall.
Sophomore Jorden Rossow (19:35) finished 11th while Carter Zimmerman (19:43) finished 13th and Soren Kelly (19:55) earned 16th.
“It was great to be back on the course and watching our athletes run,” said ML/C head coach Dale Compton. “Last year the meets were all duals or triangulars, so it was exciting to have a full slate of teams competing. Nathan Strobel has been working very hard these first few weeks of the season and it showed tonight with his 4th place finish. He was nearly five minutes faster today than he was a year ago at this point. Everyone ran well and our teams, boys and girls, had a great start to the season.”
The Giants girls team finished second overall in the event with 84 points.
Senior Hailey Juarez (21:49) finished third overall while junior Cooper Vanden Einde (24:18) took 13th. Junior Kenzie Kabes (24:31) finished 15th, sophomore Brandy Wolf (25:06) took 20th and junior Melanie Smykalski (27:25) wrapped up the varsity performers finishing 33rd.
“Hailey had a good start to the year she was running alone this meet so I’m hopeful that she can continue to improve her times in bigger meets where she has more runners to run with,” said head coach Casey Fails. “Kenzie also had a good start to the season and was about 30 seconds away from her personal best last year. Melanie ran well and is emerging as our probable 5th runner for the season.”
The boys team finished fourth over with 128 total team points.
Junior Riley Thelemann (20:16) finished 19th, freshman Josiah Juarez (20:40) earned 24th, sophomore Grant Adams (20:56) took 28th, senior Dylan Novak (21:13) finished 31st, eighth grader Owen Greisen (22:54) earned 37th, freshman Kaden Graff (23:23) finished 40th and junior Cayden Luna (24:17) rounded out the day finishing 44th.
“Riley Thelelmann was our top runner and had a good start to the season,” said Fails. “Josiah Juarez ran his best time since joining cross country with a 20:40 and is looking to show a big improvement this year. Grant Adams had a solid effort on the course today. Owen Greisen rounded out the top 5 running a 22:54.”
Tri City United
The Titans girls team finished the day fourth with 89 team points.
They were led by freshman Yasmin Ruiz (22:23), who finished fifth and seventh grader Kirra Flicek (24:26), who took 14th.
The boys team finished third with 52 team points.
They were led by junior Dante Juberian (18:17), who finished third 3rd, senior Chose Goecke (19:11), who earned seventh, and senior Austin Rutt (19:30), who finished tenth 10th.
“I was very pleased with the effort and our times were very good for so early in the season,” said TCU coach Brian Fogal. “We host our big Gerry Smith Titan Invitational next Thursday.”