USC, BEA runners head to State Meet
Although the Blue Earth Area and United South Central cross country teams did not attend the State Tournament at St. Olaf College in Northfield to compete as a full team Saturday, each school sent a single runner one to represent the Buccaneers, one to represent the Rebels.
The Section 2A Championship was held Nov. 23, at the Riverside Town and Country Club in Blue Earth.
There, USC freshman Beth Stevermer vied for a spot in the State Cross Country meet against runners from Waseca and Fairmont, the two girls varsity teams that advanced to the state meet.
And it just so happened that Stevermer did earn top marks in the 4K race. In fact, her time of 14:23.82 was the quickest among all 118 female runners, thus placing Stevermer in first place.
“I?really wasn’t expecting first, but I was just hoping to run well and go back to the State meet and improve my time from last year,” Stevermer said.
Stevermer placed second in last year’s Section 2A Championship when she was in only eighth grade.
At the 2013 All-State meet at St. Olaf College, she nabbed a spot in the top 15 14th place, to be exact.
This year, she hopes to improve her time over last year’s.
“I’m pretty confident that I’ll get a better time,” Stevermer said. “But one of my main goals is to just have fun and run well.”
Although one of her goals is to have fun, she is no stranger to a little ‘friendly’ competition.
Her toughest competition at the 2014 Section 2A Championship was Janessa Meuleners, a senior from Belle Plaine, and Tierney Winter, a junior from Waterville.
“This year I had one runner that was really close to me that helped to push me through the entire race,” Stevermer said of Meuleners. “When they are right with you, it helps to run even harder.”
Muelners wound up coming in at second place at 14:42.34 and Winter took seventh.
Mike Ankeny, a senior at BEA, competed in the Section 2A boys varsity 5K race against 140 male runners from 21 different teams in the Big South Conference.
Although Waseca and Martin County West were the two boys varsity teams to advance to the State Meet, Ankeny proved himself to be one of the top runners in the conference with a time of 17:23.49 and 13th place accolades.
“Mike positioned himself well the first mile, then surged the rest of the way to pull away from his pursuers,” said BEA head coach Tom Plocker.
This year, Ankeny has earned two All-Conference medals and has assisted the boys varsity team in earning higher overall scores.
With a consistant spot in the top ten throughout the cross country season, it is no surprise that Ankeny scored a spot in the All-State cross country meet.
However, this is his first and final time competing in the State finals.
“Mike posted his best-ever time at the home course, and earned All-Section honors for the first time,”?Plocker said.
Both Ankeny and Stevermer competed against runners from schools throughout Minnesota.
Ankeny’s Class A boys’ race was held at 10 a.m., and Stevermer ran in the Class A girls’ race, held at 11 a.m.