Hastings had one qualifier for the Class AAA State Cross Country Meet held Saturday, November 4 at the U of M’s Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights, Sophomore Linnea Ronning. This was …
Hastings had one qualifier for the Class AAA State Cross Country Meet held Saturday, November 4 at the U of M’s Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights, Sophomore Linnea Ronning. This was Ronning’s second straight State appearance for the Raiders.
The morning started out fairly cold with the mercury dipping into the low thirties to start the morning. The common theme for fans was actually over dressing for the event. By the time the boys Class AAA race started at 10:00 a.m., many fans were starting to shed layers as the sunny day began to push temps into the upper 40’s.
The rise in temperature along with moisture in the air began to also create some issues for runners. The ground had never really dried properly from the rain received throughout the previous week plus, and the extra moisture settling caused some fairly slick running surfaces on the grass. Some runners lost their footing and fell, and the course itself slowed many of the participants down.
The field featured the top two teams from each section plus the next six best runners for a total of 160 athletes vying for the coveted title of State Champion. One thing about timed sports like Cross Country is that the established history of the runner’s times gives runners an idea where they will finish within certain parameters.
“At the state meet, a few second difference in your time either way could move you ten places in the standings,” said head coach Joe Rabaey.
Ronning had been running races between 19:20 and 20:00 very consistently with many of her times being closer to that 19:30 mark. The team knew if she kept that consistency, she would finish in the top 30 percent of runners at the state meet. If she could shave an extra 10-15 seconds off her time, she could even be top 25 percent. Making it to the state meet is impressive on its own, doing it two years in a row is phenomenal, being in the top 30 percent is the icing on the cake.
The top runner was Norah Hushagen, a junior from Forest Lake with a time of 17:27.6. The second-place runner for the girls came in 33 seconds later. Hushagen’s performance was pure domination. The tenth-place time was another Linnea, Linnea Ousdigian from Mounds View with a time of 18:24.9
The local Linnea ran the race in 19:27.1 finishing exactly at the top 30 percent at 48th place. For Ronning to break the top ten, she would have had to beat her best race of the year, the Section time of 19:12.90 by 50 seconds. That does not sound like much, but that is a huge time cut for a week. That also explains just how talented the state is for cross country running at the high school level. Her best run of the season changes Ronning’s place to 35th overall.
“It was an awesome day out here with all the energy,” said Rabaey. “You could tell she was so excited at the beginning, and she ran super well running her second-best time this season on another day like last week and another kind of wet course where a lot of the top runners are running close to their top times. No one's really blown anything away. For her to get top 50 out here today was awesome.”
The best part of the day? The support from her team. Several of the Raiders were on hand to help her prepare for the day and to cheer her on.
“It’s so awesome, the cohesion that team has… their family, it totally shows and I am so proud of them for that. We have had girls practicing with Linnea all week so she has not had to practice alone. It was the same with our JV runners for sections, they stuck around and practiced with our varsity to help them prepare. The culture has been super awesome on our team, and I know Linnea appreciates that so much because no one wants to be out here in the crowd warming up alone,” added Rabaey.
The support was clear on Ronning’s face both before and after the race. The huddle with her teammates set the positive tone needed to run a great race and the support after the finish was great to witness.
Congratulations on another great season to Linnea Ronning and we are proud of you for being one of the fastest girls in the state for cross country! Way to go Linnea!