by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Late in the state cross country race Saturday, Elk River sophomore Lucas Trapp had Rogers senior Reed Parent right at his elbow as the two of them went into their finishing kicks in pursuit of top-25 finishes.
Trapp pulled away from Parent with about 800 yards left, and wound up 1.5 seconds and three places ahead of him while both earned all-state status and had their school’s best-ever finish.
“I’m really happy with it. This was awesome,” said Trapp, who placed 20th with a career-best 16:08.0 in the Class AA division at St. Olaf College in Northfield.
Parent, who had a career-best 15:58 on a flatter Anoka course at sectionals, covered the hilly campus course in 16:09.5 for 23rd place. His state time was almost the same as last year (0.4 slower) but moved him up three places from 26th, a key distinction because the top 25 make all-state. He was 70th as a sophomore.
“I peaked just when I wanted to,” said Parent. “My goals were to break 16 minutes and make top 25 at state, and I did both.”
Trapp, whose previous best time was 16:16, jumped 54 places from last year when he was 74th in 16:38. He was 114th as an eighth-grader.
Trapp also ranked third among sophomores at state behind Stillwater’s Bailey Hesse-Withbro (12th) and Wayzata’s Jaret Carpenter (18th).
“Lucas ran a very smart race. He looked great out there,” said coach Mike Niziolek. “We definitely had a strategy. He ran very, very conservatively at the beginning, and finished strong. His last thousand meters was awesome.”
Previous best finishes for the Elk boys program were 24th place by John Kallemeyn and 26th by Zach Varty.
Asked how the race progressed, Trapp said, “You go out really fast because there’s so many people but you have to stay on your own pace and run your own race. I was mid-pack at the start, and toward the middle of the race I started moving up.”
Asked about the killer hill at the end of the course, Trapp said his legs felt “pretty dead” on the hill but added, “That’s why Iove running. You use whatever you have left to get up that hill.”
Parent, who finished 38 places ahead of Trapp last year, said he ran ahead of the Elk soph for a while Saturday “but he caught up and we ran together for a while” before Trapp found another gear in the last half-mile.
Parent completed “a solid and a durable career,” said first-year Rogers coach Chad Kreuser, adding that his captain also gets high marks as a teammate and sportsman.
“Reed is a team runner,” said Kreuser. “After finishing races, Reed always asked right away how everyone else had done. He would stay at the finish to wait for his teammates and competitors to congratulate them when they finish. Reed appreciated hard work, close teammates, and Rogers cross country tradition.”
Wayzata was the boys team champion with 53 points, followed by Edina with 66 and Stillwater with 99.
Richfield senior Obsa Ali was individual champion with 15:15.2, followed by Wayzata junior Connor Olson in 15:17.4 and Hutchinson senior Isaiah Barlow with 15:32.7.