MHS cross country prepared to tackle West Region meet
All of the countless miles, sore legs, pickle juice and chocolate milk has led to the final moments for the Minot High cross country teams — the postseason.
Tomorrow, the Magicians and Majettes will travel to Bismarck to take part in the West Region Meet to determine the top runners in the west. The races begin at 1 p.m. at the McDowell Dam.
With the regular season done, it’s time for Minot High to prove where they stand in the west.
The 2018 boys cross country season has been an adjustment in moving to a new head coach in Lance Gehring. Though he was an assistant coach for 11 years previously, Gehring has put into effect some training changes for the team to adapt to this season.
“It’s taken them a little while to adapt to that a little bit but we’ve made some good strides and the guys did a lot of good offseason work this year so we’re really seeing the benefit of that,” Gehring said.
The Magicians’ top performance was their first meet of the year, the Heen-Ihmels Invitational in Williston on Aug. 25, where the team finished third behind Williston and Dickinson.
The team has seen many solid performances but nothing too stellar according to Gehring.
“We haven’t been spectacular yet, which is a good sign for how we’ve been training,” he said. “These next two meets are the time to be spectacular. We’ve geared our training and kind of ignored trying to be at our absolute best in the meets before just to be at our best when the postseason arrives.”
Juniors Noah Jacobs and William Walker-Rozo have consistently been top runners for the Magi.
“They have cut time every meet despite running on tired legs all season,” Gehring said. “That’s a great sign.”
Senior Cameron Goodman and junior Austin Geyer have been able to cut significant time this season and, though they have recently leveled off, Gehring said they have made good gains and are looking strong going into the West Region Meet.
The team hasn’t seen teams from the west in three weeks, so it’s up in the air as to where the guys are currently shaping up to their fellow West Region teams.
“The three Bismarck schools are very good and Williston, I know they’ve dealt with injuries and they were the favorites at the beginning of the year,” Gehring said. “Fourth or fifth is kind of where we think we should be, there’s a chance to sneak one spot better there but the top five in the region is our goal for sure.”
The Minot High girls cross country team started the season hot with two meet wins. The first came in Williston for the Heen-Ihmels Invitational Aug. 25. The Majettes had four top 10 finishers.
Their second win came from the Mandan Kiwanis Invitational on Sept. 8. Despite only having one runner in the top 10, Minot High was able to take first. Majettes head coach Carla Wahlund recalled that it was a tough week of practice before the meet in Mandan.
The girls entered that meet with tired legs and were able to overcome the pain and run with a positive attitude.
“It’s been a very good season,” Wahlund said. “Midseason we got a lot colds so that affected us more around the middle of September.”
Sickness toppled the Majettes from their pedestal on the top, going from a once dominant team to resting at sixth place for two meets in a row on Sept. 15 and Sept. 22.
“Now, we’re strong and they are healthy and they’re really anxious to race,” Wahlund said.
Unfortunately, Minot High’s only home meet was cancelled due to weather on Oct. 6 which means they haven’t raced since September.
“That’s okay because their legs are really rested and their really excited to get out there,” Wahlund said.
Throughout the season, Wahlund has seen big improvements from all 16 members of the variety squad and is impressed by each and every runner.
“I was looking at my times from last season and I’ve dropped like three minutes,” Emma Compere said. “It’s a pretty good improvement but this is only my second year running cross country and I’ve just noticed my mentality has kind of changed.”
Compere previously competed in Texas before her family moved to North Dakota and she’s noticed that the entire mentality of the team is to push each other and get better together, which has influenced her times dramatically.
“We’ve all been working really hard and putting in a lot of miles of training, just pushing ourselves to the absolute limits,” Minot High sophomore Ashley Nelson said.
The Majettes proved at the beginning of the season that they are capable of running in the front of the pack and are looking to get back there in the postseason.
“It kind of boosted our confidence levels,” Nelson said about the early season success. “It was good for us to see what we can become.”
When it comes to the meet Saturday, Wahlund says it will depend on which team is clicking the best because they are multiple teams who, on the right day, could take home the win.