Vikings close with excellent runs at State

Coach Chris Hegg

Sophomore Kieran Scannell ran a furious pace at the State cross-country meet on November 6, finishing 34th in a tough field at St. Olaf College. Staff photo/Brian Larsen Sophomore Kieran Scannell ran a furious pace at the State cross-country meet on November 6, finishing 34th in a tough field at St. Olaf College. Staff photo/Brian Larsen Our usual caravan of coaches, teammates, families and friends accompanied our two running stars of the 2010 season, senior Ailee Larson, and sophomore Kieran Scannell down to the State cross country meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Thisyear’s group was pretty experienced. Thiswas our ninth straight trip to the state meet. In addition, Kieran and Ailee both went to state last year in cross country and track. That doesn’t decrease the excitement and jitters though. Like any sport, it is extremely tough to even get to state. Each year 10,000 runners start the cross-country season in Minnesota, and only about 500 make this trip. If you haven’t been there before, you are in awe. If you have been, you face bigger expectations to perform well. Ailee and Kieran felt the pressure, especially since both had been consistently successful throughout this season.

Senior Ailee Larson’s strong sprint at the finish earned her 43rd place in the State meet at St. Olaf. Photo by Hartley Acero Senior Ailee Larson’s strong sprint at the finish earned her 43rd place in the State meet at St. Olaf. Photo by Hartley Acero State races are unpredictable

When Reed Lehto, our first state qualifier in 2002 went to state, he ran 17:35 and placed 30th. The next year he came back a lot faster, ran 16:50, and placed 34th. In 2004 he ran 16:50 again, and placed 12th. Heidi Sande, our first girl in 2003, put on a strong move in the middle of her race, and ran 15:18, placing 22nd, earning all state honors (top 25). Running better all season the next year, she was unable to duplicate the same move, and placed 60th in 16:08. You never know. Everyone there is a great runner. If the leaders go out fast, you have to follow as best you can. If they go slow, you have to pick your pace.

Kieran kicks it off

Kieran was up first on a beautiful fall day—40+ degrees, sunny with a medium wind you didn’t feel a lot until the last third of the race. Since Kieran had run against many of the top ten rated runners in the state this year and had been able to keep in touch most of the time, we chose a more aggressive approach. Get out hard, settle in to the pace, and look for a top 25 placing.

Not a great choice. The leaders went out at a furious pace, with Kieran right among them in the top 20 at 4:58 at the 1-mile mark – an unsustainable pace faster then the course record. The race then settled into a classic death march, a feeling every runner at any level knows. You can’t slow down enough to fully recover, and you have a long way to go.

He hung on pretty well, but slid back to 23rd at 1.3 miles and 27th at 2 miles. Thelast loop in the woods includes a hard climb, which cost him a couple addition places. He sucked it up and finished well, placing a very respectable 34th in 16:57, a time and placing just a little below his expectations. But when you work extremely hard and don’t hit your expectations, it is never a great day.

Still, it was an outstanding run, and he should get two more chances to improve it.

Ailee up next

Kieran’s experience reinforced our plan for Ailee. She is one of the fastest distance runners around— witness her 400- and 800-meter times in track. She has to be careful with that speed however, as it increases the ability to run into early trouble. With a more conservative start, she hit the first mile at 5:58 in about 75th place. The pace was fast, but manageable. She had a lot of places to climb to get into the top 50—a reasonable target for her. Even as early as ¾ of a mile, she was moving up through the field. At half way, she was up to about 55th, heading into the tough woods loop. With a strong finishing sprint, she had run herself up to 43rd in 15:54 for 2.5 miles.

Besides Heidi’s all state run in 2003, that was best time and place at State by a Viking girl. You gotta love that.

Celebrating State

After the races, our group of about 30 got down to serious fun times in the big cities— lunch at the St. Olaf café (we never had food like that when I was in college), shopping, movies and more good food at the Mall of America, etc.

Sunday morning the rest of us got our chance to race, at Rocky’s Run, a 5K open cross country race at the U of Mn golf course. Some of us ran hard, others not so much. Darren Waha led us, finishing a little under 21:00. Coach April Wahlstrom evened the score after my win at Milaca, dropping me at 1K and running a 21:40 to my 22:30. Daniel Ditmanson and Kieran’s mom Lynn Swanson had strong runs in about 23:30 and 26:00 respectively. Most of the rest of the kids were saving it for track in the spring, while parents Monica Schnobrich, Sue Ahrendt, and Dave Seaton ran for fun and fitness.

Thenit was off to the funky Seward Café and the long drive home.


Click here for digital edition
2010-11-13 digital edition


Special sections:


Meet the Class of 2018


Spring Home Improvement

SPECIAL SECTION ARCHIVE



Copyright 2009-2018 Cook County News Herald, All Rights Reserved