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East Ridge cross country: No state meet for Roese, Raptors boys

Last year, East Ridge's Nate Roese became the first boys cross country runner to earn a trip to the state meet, finishing in fifth place at the Section 4AA Championships.

However, this year the junior fell just shy of state - taking 11 place overall with a time of 16 minutes, 14 seconds on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at the University of Minnesota's Les Bolstad Golf Course in St. Paul.

At sections, the top two teams and the top 10 individual runners in the boys and girls race earn trips to state.

"I couldn't tell. It looked like a tie," East Ridge head coach Chad Cronin said. "But, he gave it a good effort."

In the 5K race, Roese was battling an injury that held him out of the Suburban East Conference championships two weeks ago. However, Roese's time this year was actually a hair better than last year's section race time of 16:14.65. It was the second time Roese came one place shy of state. As a freshman he took 11th place overall as well.

"Coming off that injury for him to get back in there and come just a hair away from state was a really good effort for him," Cronin said. "He's already hungry for next year."

In all, East Ridge took ninth place overall with 226 place points. With four runners in the top seven, powerhouse Stillwater, a conference foe, won the meet with 28 points. Stillwater senior Tom Linner won the race with a time of 15:40. Fellow SEC school White Bear Lake took second place with 81 points.

"It's a tough, tough section, I can't believe it," Cronin said. "To have all these ranked runners in one section is pretty amazing."

For East Ridge, a trio of sophomores followed Roese across the finish line. Ryan Schiferl took 42nd overall with a time of 17:25, Roman Faller placed 52nd with a time of 17:35 and Nate Tigges took 60th with a time of 17:54. Raptors senior Tom Dierberger rounded out East Ridge's top five runners with a time of 17:55.

Cronin said having five runners under 18 minutes was quite an achievement.

"We're getting there on the boys side," he said. "Every year they've shown improvement. Our first year when East Ridge opened we only had one guy under 20 minutes and that was Nate (Roese). Now we have more than half the team, maybe 20 guys, under 20 minutes. It's nice to see that improvement."

The section race was the last for six East Ridge seniors - Dierberger, Tom Ollmann, Alex Burns, William Gramer Jr., Quint Larson, Eduardo Perez Nichols and Daniel Mackey from the boys team and Jessica Lepel from the girls team.

"All the seniors really showed a high level of commitment to the team," Cronin said. "My hats are off to them."

This year, the East Ridge boys and girls cross country teams each earned the Academic Gold award for 2011. All nine varsity runners on each team goes toward the honor.

"They are some hardworking kids on and off the course," Cronin said.