MHS cross country teams ready to run

The Minot High School cross country teams embark on a new season this morning at the Williston Municipal Golf Course.

Both teams have an infusion of youth with the expectations of improving on last year’s results. Here is a rundown of the two squads.

Magicians

Former head coach Aaron Klingbeil has stepped away from the program and opened the door for long-time assistant Lance Gehring to take over.

It’s been a learning process for the new head coach.

“A little crazy,” Gehring said. “But, the guys are really motivated and have done the most work that I have seen, and I was the assistant coach for 11 years. They high goals and expectations. It’s made me kind of hold them back a little bit and try to temper their expectations a little bit.”

The Magi finished 11th at the state meet last season. The five individuals who made up the team total put in sub 18-minute times.

Those returning for this season include the trio of William Walker-Rozo (60th at state), Noah Jacobs (66th) and Noah Keller (77th).

“Noah Jacobs will probably be our lead guy for most of the year,” Gehring said. “He was a state qualifier in the two mile last year. So, he is looking to keep that momentum rolling. Walker-Rozo is coming off a strong track season. Plus, we have a few seniors in Collin McDonald, Cameron Goodman and Noah Keller that are going to provide some good depth.”

A wildcard for the Magi this season is senior David Meza.

“Meza has a lot of talent, but no cross country experience,” Gehring said. “It’s going to take him a while to feel the flow of cross country.”

Getting back to being one of the Top 5 teams in the state continues to be a target for the Magi.

“We are a little bit younger, but the varsity guys are now a year older,” Gehring said. “Somewhere between fourth and seventh is… Well, if we just creep back into the Top 5, that’s kind of been the Minot standard. We want to be Top 5. That would be a really good year for us.”

Majettes

Juniors and youngsters overrun the Majettes’ roster this season.

“It’s a younger group and we have always kind of been a younger group,” MHS girls coach Carla Wahlund said. “A lot of juniors with only two seniors: Abigail Folk and Chey Vicks. Folk has been with the cross country program all her high school years. Vicks moved here last year from Guam and participated in track during the spring.”

Folk added: “We have been adjusting to a new crew with some girls leaving and some girls joining. Just getting used to the new balance. It hasn’t been too bad. Everyone has been pushing each other.”

The Majettes best finisher at the state meet last season was Abby Hoffarth in 16th. She is now one of the many juniors, along with Allie Wahlund and Abbie Wahlund to name a couple more.

“I just have to keep training hard to get better,” Hoffarth said. “I have to trust Carla (Wahlund), my coaches and my training. All of that. I really hope we win the WDA this year and maybe win state if we can. But, we have to see where the other teams are at.”

A large make-up of the team are underclassmen and middle schoolers.

“We 45 athletes out this year,” Carla Wahlund said. “It’s awesome. Lots of young ones from seventh, eighth and ninth grades are joining the team. We run the program seventh through 12th grade together, so the young kids get to see how the upperclassmen train. It’s not like they do the same amount, but they are round and get exposed to it. And that’s how it is across the state.”

The Majettes are predicted to finish fifth in the preseason coaches’ poll after finishing fifth a season ago at the state meet.

Alex Eisen covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.

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