Boys cross country: Irish run to third at State
A mile into the Class 2A state boys cross country meet last week, Rosemount's runners were stuck behind the pack.
For a team in its first state meet appearance since 2007, a challenging start could be expected. The Irish sat in 12th place out of 16 teams at the mile mark.
Maybe Rosemount was just sticking to its strategy. Maybe the Irish were waiting to show their talent.
Only a mile later, Rosemount had moved up to third and then settled in and finished in third place overall as a team at last week's state cross country meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Top-ranked Wayzata won the team title with 61 points. Moorhead was second with 130, just ahead of the Irish's 134 total points.
Rosemount finished on the podium as a top three team for the third time in five years. The Irish were second in 2006 and 2007.
"We had a good day," Rosemount coach Chris Harder said. "Anytime you can qualify for state and then get on the podium is a good day. Looking at the final results, we were close to Moorhead for second, but overall we are happy with our finish. Wayzata was the class of the meet, but the field was fairly deep this year.
"We were fortunate to rally and beat Edina. The Hornets have been ranked in the top 30 nationally most of the season. We also narrowly beat Burnsville for the third time this season. They have a good program and we've enjoyed the friendly rivalry the last few seasons."
Edina, No. 2 in the final rankings at the start of November, scored 148 points to finish fifth. Burnsville, ranked No. 4, scored 141 points to finish fourth. Rosemount was the third-ranked team in the final rankings.
The big push in the second mile started with the Irish's top two runners.
Senior Shane McCallum was in 56th place in team scoring at the mile mark, but he made up ground and was in sixth at the two-mile mark. McCallum crossed the finish line in 15 minutes, 59.2 seconds to place fourth in team scoring and eighth individually, earning a medal.
"He was probably a little slow by the mile, but he is very confident and stayed relaxed to move up through the field," Harder said. "He sat nicely behind a pack into the strong westerly wind, then moved well the final half mile. Shane was in 19th place overall with just 800 meters to go and kicked well for a top-10 finish. More importantly, he gave us a low card in the team competition."
Junior Nathan Rock made a similar charge. Running in 41st in team scoring at the mile mark, he was in ninth at the two-mile point and ended in the same position in team scoring. Rock was 21st overall in 16:16.7.
"Nathan moved up through the field gradually," Harder said. "As always, he finished with a lot of heart."
McCallum and Rock each finished as all-state runners, giving Rosemount two all-state performers for the third time in team history and the first time in 20 years. Mark McMonigal and Marc Ryan achieved the feat in 1980. Chad Duffy and Aaron Quarstad equaled the mark in 1990.
Rosemount has had an all-state runner in seven of the last eight years.
Junior Chandler Dye was the third Rosemount runner across the line, finishing in 16:41.2, good for 25th in team scoring and 49th overall.
"There were 11 guys in the team race that were together with a quarter mile to go and Chandler outkicked every last one of them," Harder said. "He charged up the short hill before the final straight and caught the last two guys just before the finish. Dye is primarily an 800 runner in track, but he has shown more toughness this season in the 5,000-meter cross country."
Sophomore Trevor Capra finished with a time of 16:51.1, placing 41st in team scoring and 72nd overall.
Junior Calvin Lehn rounded out the team scoring by placing 55th in the team scoring and 92nd overall in 17:04.6.
Right behind Lehn, senior Tyler Henkemeyer covered the course in 17:05.3 to finish 93rd.
Senior John Evenocheck finished in 17:39.2 for 113rd.
The Rosemount boys cross country team will stick together for at least one more run.
The Irish will go to the Nike Regionals Sunday, Nov. 14 in Sioux Falls, S.D. The group is competing as the Rosemount XC club.
The top two teams in the Heartland Regional advance to the national competition in Portland.