Boys cross country: Stillwater defends title at Chaska


CHASKA — The top-ranked Stillwater boys’ cross country team ran to another convincing victory on Tuesday, this time at the Chaska Lions Invitational at the Chaska Par-3 Golf Course.

It marked the fourth straight win for Stillwater since falling to Wayzata by two points in the season opener.

The Ponies scored 38 points on Tuesday to easily outdistance runner-up Eden Prairie (69), which is ranked fifth in the most recent state coaches poll, and third-place Burnsville (141). Stillwater also won this race a year ago, although some of the state’s better teams who traditionally compete did not participate in this year’s event because of its proximity to the prestigious Griak Invitational on Saturday.

“I’m pretty happy with the way the team did,” Stillwater coach Scott Christensen said. “Traditionally we haven’t done that well at Chaska, but I thought we looked better (on Tuesday).”

Wayde Hall’s three-race winning streak was snapped on Tuesday after finishing second behind Richfield junior Obsa Ali, who covered the soft 5,000-meter course in 15:25.7. Hall, whose only other loss this season was by a tenth of a second at Marshfield, followed in second with a time of 15:35.2 — 15 seconds in front of Chaska sophomore and fifth-ranked Joey Duerr (15:50.8).

Stillwater’s Eric Colvin followed in fourth place with a time of 15:57.6 while Sean Bjork (16:30.1) and Eli Krahn (16:32.1) in eighth and 10th gave the Ponies four runners among the top 10. Bailey Hesse-Withroe completed the scoring in 14th place with a time of 16:49.7.

“I thought Sean Bjork ran pretty well and Eric rebounded a little bit,” Christensen said. “Wayde is disappointed, but he didn’t run poorly he just got beat.”

One of the pleasant surprises was Matt Fronczak, a hockey player who is running cross country for the first time. The senior, competing in his first varsity race, placed 21st with a time of 16:56.6. Edoardo Tagliaferri followed in 33rd for the Ponies at 17:17.9.

“He’s a hockey player who decided to try something different,” Christensen said. “He came to me and said I’m thinking about trying cross country and look what he’s done — a PR every single meet.”

n Stillwater placed three runners among the top nine to outlast Edina 51-58 for the title in the 23-team JV race on Tuesday. Austin Reed finished second with a time of 17:20.7 to lead the Ponies while Alex Percival (17:40.8) and Tim Koenning (17:40.9) placed eighth and ninth.

Sam Hanson crossed the line in 17:43.6 to win the C race and lead the Ponies to victory with 28 points. Edina was the runner-up at 74 and Eden Prairie third with 80 points. Nick Yokanovich (17:47.3) and David Felsch (18:27.8) placed third and fifth while Arthur Seeb (18:42.3) followed in eighth for the Ponies.


Team standings

1. Stillwater 38; 2. Eden Prairie 69; 3. Burnsville 141; 4. Chaska 167; 5. Minnetonka 171; 6. Robbinsdale Armstrong 200; 7. Chanhassen 209; 8. Bloomington Jefferson 268; 9. Prior Lake 297; 10. Bloomington Kennedy 312; 11. Osseo 315; 12. Shakopee 341; 13. Lakeville South 341; 14. Lakeville North 368; 15. St. Louis Park 375; 16. Red Wing 383; 17. Farmington 408; 18. Mankato West 442; 19. New Prague 458; 20. Waconia 513; 21. Richfield 545; 22. Dassel-Cokato 604.

Top 5

1. Obsa Ali (Rich) 15:25.7; 2. Wayde Hall (St) 15:35.2; 3. Joey Duerr (Chas) 15:50.8; 4. Eric Colvin (St) 15:57.6; 5. Paysal Mahmoud (Bur) 16:04.4.

Stillwater results

2. Wayde Hall 15:35.2; 4. Eric Colvin 15:57.6; 8. Sean Bjork 16:30.1; 10. Eli Krahn 16:32.1; 14. Bailey Hesse-Withroe 16:49.7; 21. Matt Fronczak 16:56.6; 33. Edoardo Tagliaferri 17:17.9.