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Cross country: Irish 21st at Griak Invitational

A regression from last year's third-place finish was inevitable for a mostly-inexperienced Rosemount boys cross country team going up against many of the top teams from around the Midwest at Saturday's Roy Griak Invitational.

The eighth-ranked (Class 2A) Irish fell a bit further back in the pack than they would have liked, but still cracked the top half of the 44-team field at Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights with a 21st-place total of 565 team points. No. 1-ranked (Class 4A, Iowa) West Des Moines Dowling Catholic defeated North Dakota's top-ranked team, Bismarck, 124-187 for the team title. Ranked teams from Wisconsin, California, Missouri, Kansas and Illinois also appeared in the top 15.

"We had some nice individual performances. As a team, we were just a little off of what we were capable of doing," Rosemount coach Chris Harder said. "At a meet of this magnitude, each second gets magnified point wise. We were close to hitting our goal of being in the top 15."

Senior Trevor Capra once again led the Irish with a 26th-place time of 16 minutes, 44 seconds, on the 5,000-meter course.

""Trevor Capra had another solid effort. He is really coming into his own. TC is so confident in his pacing and trusts his racing judgment," Harder said. "I think he has more in him than he has shown which he will show in the coming meets. With him up front, he gives our team a chance to accomplish some of our team goals."

The rest of the Rosemount lineup finished the race in a tight pack. Runners 2 through 7 all completed the course within a gap of 15 seconds.

Sam Ivanecky served as the No. 2 runner with a 124th-place time of 17:46. Tommy Linder was 130th in 17:46, followed by Alex Desbele (136th, 17:52), Ryan Brumm (149th, 17:55), Austin Rudoll (157th, 18:01) and Luke Anderson (159th, 18:01).

Cody Sedbrook, Michael Sampers and Ryan Condon also competed in the varsity race.

"Our spread got a little extended at Griak. We need to get that pack tighter as we head to conference and sections," Harder said. "I think our young squad has the guys to get it done. Only Trevor and Sam Ivanecky have significant varsity experience, but the newcomers have stepped it up this season."

On the girls side, the Irish had to adjust to the 5,000-meter distance at Griak and had to overcome the absence of Hannah Grim, who lead the team at last week's meet.

The Irish ended up 35th out of 43 teams with a score of 875 points.

"Our girls were in a pretty difficult situation. We gave it a good effort in the warm weather and very strong competition. Most of the teams that finished ahead of us are ranked in their respective state," Harder said. "However, it was a great experience for our team to see the level of competition and compete at the more common national distance of 5,000 meters."

Sophomore Liz Evenocheck, a returning state qualifier, led the way with a 121st-place time of 21:29. Seniors Taylor Rambo and Taybri Irving followed, placing 147th and 177th with times of 21:48 and 22:20, respectively.

Natalie Narloch (204th, 22:41) and Rachel Schow (226th, 22:59) provided the final two counting scores.

Sydney Regalado (235th, 23:09), Lizzie Thooft (267th, 23:42), Alyssa Watkins, Naomi Alvarez and Molly Reber also competed.

The Irish compete again this afternoon at the Eve Berg Invitational at Brooktree Golf Course in Owatonna. Rosemount teams have competed on the Owatonna course every year since 1979.