by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Ryan Trapp, who’s a junior and thus one of the old guys on the Elk River cross country team, has lots of praise for his young teammates.
“We are definitely the youngest team in the conference and section, but we are also one of the better ones,” Ryan declared, after the Elks placed sixth among 11 teams in the Northwest Suburban Conference meet hosted by ERHS on Thursday at Elk River Golf Club.
“We have two seniors, I’m the only junior, and the rest are sophomores and younger. That’s almost unheard of in (boys) cross country.”
Ryan is especially impressed by his eighth-grade brother, Lucas, who recently surpassed his older sibling as the team’s best runner.
“I think by his junior or senior year, he can win state,” said Ryan. “He is that good.”
At the NWSC meet, the 6-foot, 135-pound Lucas Trapp place 12th and nabbed the team’s only all-conference honor.
Ryan, 6-2 and 170, placed 23rd, missing all-conference by one place. Senior Cole Konczal was next in 24th place.
Andover was the runaway team champion, as the first four runners into the chute were Huskies, led by medalist Chris Meados. Andover repeated as champions with 27 points, well ahead of a strong Centennial team’s 47.
Lucas Trapp said he thought his run Thursday was “pretty good, everything was good.” Asked if he had any lofty long-range goals, he shrugged modestly, “I just take it one meet at a time, train hard, and keep going.”
Asked if they come from a running family, Ryan said his mom placed eighth in the state once in Wisconsin, and his dad was a half-miler. They’re the only two kids.
The other two counting scorers for the Elks were freshman Mitchell Weege in 36h place and sophomore Breck Hickman in 44th.
While it’s common in girls track and cross country for junior high runners to excel against older runners, it’s a different story in boys cross country where the top teams are usually juniors and seniors.
The Elk boys have been in the middle of the pack or lower in several meets this year but are inching their way up. That’s what coach Mike Niziolek is latching unto.
“This was a great performance by a young team,” he said. “The boys ran an exceptional race.”
Next for the Elks is Section 7AA at Cloquet on Oct. 27. The team usually places higher in section than in conference.
1. Andover 27
2. Centennial 47
3. Coon Rapids 127
4. Osseo 136
5. Maple Grove 138
6. Elk River 139
7. Anoka 142
8. Armstrong 194
9. Champlin Park 255
10. Park Center 280
11. Blaine 296
Individual top 5
1. Chris Meados, Andover, 16:25.8
2. Mitch Fisher, Andover, 16:29.6
3. Steven Cotter, Andover, 16:30.7
4. Kurt Hellman, Andover, 16:33.2
5. Anders Evenson, Osseo, 16:42.5
12. Lucas Trapp 17:05.4
23. Ryan Trapp 17:36.5
24. Cole Konczal 17:38.5
36. Mitchell Weege 18:00.2
44. Breck Hickman 18:15.1
55. Nate Webster 18:30.6
59, Blake Thompson 18:45.2