VELVA - Andrew Beach patiently waited through the first mile of 90-degree heat and wind gusts exceeding 20 mph before taking control and cruising to the first individual win of his cross country career Friday.
The senior created a comfortable gap between himself and the next three finishers - all from Williston - to open the season with a time of 17 minutes, 39 seconds at the Velva Invitational at Star City Golf Course.
Williston finished first out of eight teams with 33 points followed by MHS with 39. Rugby was third with 100.
Minot High School senior Andrew Beach approaches the finish line in a comfortable win at the Velva Invitational at Star City Golf Course.
"That heat kind of takes it out of you a little bit and the wind was a little depriving of energy, but yeah, I felt pretty good," Beach said.
MHS teammates told Beach they were surprised to not see him at the front in the early part of the race, but the strategy played out well as he won by 22 seconds.
"I just kind of wanted to test the first mile and see about how fast everyone was going and I usually start races faster than that," Beach said. "I just decided to hang back a little bit and maybe draft a little bit because it was so windy."
Beach made his move shortly after the first two 1,000-meter loops of the 5,000-meter (3.1 miles) race.
Williston's Brennan Goldade, Devan Shumway and Jacob Oleksik followed behind Beach in that order. Dunseith's Lucas Nadeau took fifth.
MHS senior Sean Krill was the next Magician to finish. Krill ran 18:54 and finished sixth overall.
"I think we did good for the first meet of the season," Krill said. "It was a good start off and I think I finished in a good time. It's pretty hot out, but you just push through it and finish strong and have fun doing it."
MHS coach Aaron Klingbeil hoped for a better showing against the Coyotes, but was pleased to see a West Region team push his runners in the season's first meet.
"The two Krill boys came out well," Klingbeil said. "They started aggressively and even they were willing to go out ahead of Beach, knowing how fast he is, and the results showed it was a good move."
Sean Krill's twin Jordan was the third Magician to cross the line and finished ninth overall with a time of 19:22.
Southern McLean's Fox wins girls race
The girls race was less contested as Southern McLean sophomore Kate Fox steadily increased her lead on the field for the win in 16:31. Fox, who took eighth in the Class B state meet in 2012, was looking forward to racing at the Velva Course after enjoying the run as a freshman. The high school girls distance is 4K (2.48 miles).
"I was just really feeling it," Fox said. "My body was going and I was just gonna listen to it and let it guide me through the rest of the race."
Rolla's Claire Brien was second in 16:53 followed by Velva's Cassidy Peterson in 17:03.
Eighth-grader Emily Nelson was sixth overall in 17:33 to lead the Majettes to a team win. MHS had 53 points followed by Williston (65) and Rugby and Velva at 93.
MHS freshman Liz Rohrer (17:53) and sophomore teammate Meg Super (17:59) finished eighth and ninth, respectively.
"I think that's kind of what I was expecting," MHS coach Shannon Bushnell said. "You got Emily, Liz, Meg. They've been looking strong in practice, so I expected them to do well."
The Magicians and Majettes host the MHS Invitational at 10 a.m. Thursday at Souris Valley Golf Course.
Tim Chapman covers Minot High School athletics. Follow him on Twitter @chapmatp.