Boys cross country: Hall, Ponies pull away for victory

Photo contributed by Brad Dixon
Members of the Stillwater boys’ cross country team make up the bulk of the lead pack at the one-mile mark of Friday’s Faribault Invitational at Alexander Park. Leading the way for the Ponies were, from left, Sean Bjork, Wayde Hall, Eli Krahn (back) and Eric Colvin.

FARIBAULT — Looking more like the juggernaut that entered the season ranked No. 1 in the state, the Stillwater boys’ cross country team scored 32 points while posting an impressive victory at Friday’s Faribault Invitational at Alexander Park.

Eighth-ranked Owatonna followed in second place with a score of 89 while White Bear Lake was third in the 18-team field with 134 points.

Wayde Hall closes in on the finish line with a healthy lead at Friday’s Faribault Invitational.

Senior Wayde Hall crossed the finish line in 15:14.7 to deliver an impressive victory over Brookings junior Addison DeHaven (15:20.5), who is ranked in the top 20 of at least two national polls.

“I knew going into the race that I could win, even with DeHaven there,” Hall said. “He went out right away in the lead and we went through the mile in 5 minutes and then the two-mile in 9:58 — that’s when we really started to pick up the pace on the last mile. With about 400 meters to go, I had a big surge all the way to the finish line and that’s where I gapped him and won.”

The victory was a nice 18th birthday present for Hall, who finished second by just a tenth of a second in Stillwater’s disappointing two-point loss against Wayzata in the season opener.

“Wayde responded with by far the best cross country race of his life,” Ponies coach Scott Christensen said. “DeHaven is one of the best runners in the country based on his Footlocker championship race last year and Wayde put a tactical combination of things together to beat him.”

Stillwater enjoys a strong history at this event, now in its 47th year — in fact, Christensen won this race twice while competing as a prep for Lakeville.

“I was pretty pleased with Wayde,” Christensen said. “To win that race means a lot, it’s still a prestigious race to win.”

Hall had plenty of familiar company near the front as teammates Eric Colvin (15:53.2) and Eli Krahn (15:53.5) finished third and fourth. Sean Bjork finished 11th for the Ponies in 16:15.9 and Bailey Hesse-Withroe — who also celebrated his birthday on Friday — followed in 13th with a time of 16:30.2.

“The most impressive thing in my mind was the way our team responded after Marshfield,” Hall said. “Everyone seemed to be very fired up and we all raced great.”

Stillwater’s other varsity runners Matt Thomas (16:39.3) and Allen Burbach (17:12.1) finished 18th and 34th.

n Stillwater scored 18 points to easily win the JV race over runner-up Owatonna (65) and White Bear Lake (70). Taylor Aarness (16:31.6), Edoardo Tagliaferri (17:02.0) and Alex Percival (17:03.9) finished 1-2-3 for the Ponies.

Stillwater turned in a perfect score of 15 to win the C race over White Bear Lake (74) and the rest of the 13-team field, led by Tim Koenning (10:47.7), Sam Hanson (10:48.7), Nick Yokanovich (10:48.8), Brennan Roby (10:59.8) and Josh Daum (11:03.5) sweeping the top five spots. Arthur Seeb (11:04.3) and Chris Schulenberg (11:05.0) also placed sixth and eighth for the Ponies.

“They all ran great,” Christensen said.


Team standings

1. Stillwater 32; 2. Owatonna 89; 3. White Bear Lake 134; 4. Brookings, S.D. 144; 5. Totino-Grace 158; 6. Apple Valley 173; 7. Rochester Mayo 220; 8. Winona 255; 9. Minneapolis South 260; 10. Lakeville North 280; 11. Albert Lea 317; 12. Mankato West 321; 13. Farmington 327; 14. Bloomington Kennedy 335; 15. Faribault 352; 16. Rochester Lourdes 414; 17. Kasso-Mantorville 423; 18. Math & Science Academy 434.

Top 5

1. Wayde Hall (St) 15:14.7; 2. Addison DeHaven (Br) 15:20.5; 3. Eric Colvin (St) 15:53.2; 4. Eli Krahn (St) 15:53.5; 5. Hunter Bailey (Win) 15:59.7.

Stillwater results

1. Wayde Hall 15:14.7; 3. Eric Colvin 15:53.2; 4. Eli Krahn 15:53.5; 11. Sean Bjork 16:15.9; 13. Bailey Hesse-Withroe 16:30.2; 18. Matt Thomas 16:39.3; 34. Allen Burbach 17:12.1.