by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
The Spectrum Sting girls placed eighth, middle of the pack, at the state cross country meet Saturday, a jump of five places from last year.
Kayla Zimmerman, a senior, led the Sting, placing 37th in Class A with a time of 15: 44.9 at St. Olaf College in Northfield.
The Sting, who’ve qualified for state two straight years as section runner-up behind Annandale, moved up from their 13th-place finish last year in the 16-team state field.
“I am proud of the effort,” said coach Rick Peterson about the season. “Last year we were under the radar, but this year all eyes were on the Spectrum girls each meet. They handled the pressure like champions.”
Annandale was Class A champion with 85 points, followed by Lac qui Parle Valley 113, Perham 138, Waseca 144, Holy Family Catholic 154, St. Cloud Cathedral 171, Luverne 185 and Spectrum 222. Eight other teams trailed them.
The Sting also had eighth-grader Elizabeth Hackbarth in 82nd place (16:10.1), senior Becca Peterson 86th (16:12.2), junior Brittany Waterhouse 97th (16:19.3), seventh-grader Mary Novotny 155th (17:35.7), sophomore Marissa Kuik 159th (17:42.4) and senior Emily Nelson 164th (17:51.8).
“I am proud of the effort. Last year we were under the radar, but this year all eyes were on the Spectrum girls each meet. They handled the pressure like champions.”
Peterson said the big challenge this year was thegap between their No. 4 and No. 5, with one of their best runners, Noelle Diekman, missing the season with an injury.
“At sections,” he noted, “our top four girls were equal with Annandale (the eventual state champion). Our fifth to seventh girls gave great effort all season and improved steadily but the gap remained.”
Cannon Falls senior Emi Trost was first into the shut with 14:40.3, followed by St. Paul Academy junior Mary Naas (14:50.50) and Trinity at River Ridge sophomore Becca Wilkin (14:52.3).
Anderson 2nd among eighth-graders
Zack Anderson, Spectrum’s first boy state qualifier as an eighth-grader, placed 103rd among 175 runners in Class A with 17:45.9.
He was second among eighth-graders behind Josue Leos of Canby/Minneota/Lincoln (88th). There were 22 junior-high-age qualifiers: 13 freshmen, eighth in eighth grade and no seventh-graders.
“Zack Anderson broke the ice for the boys team by qualifying for state,” said Peterson. ”The boys team is very young and positioned pretty closely to where the girls were two years ago.”