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East Ridge cross country: Raptors girls win fourth straight conference championship

The East Ridge girls cross country team won the Suburban East Conference championship title for the fourth straight year. The Raptors are currently ranked second in the state. (Submitted photo)

For the fourth straight year, the East Ridge girls cross country team earned the right to wear the Suburban East Conference crown.

Behind seven all-conference performances, the Raptors cruised to their fourth consecutive conference championship title at the Suburban East Conference meet held Tuesday, Oct. 15, at Falcon Ridge Golf Course in Stacy.

With its top five runners all in the top 12 finishers overall, East Ridge — which is ranked No. 2 in the state Class AA poll, behind Wayzata — totaled a mere 31 place points to beat Forest Lake, which had 69 place points to take second place. Roseville (78 points) was third.

“We're very proud of the team and their pursuit of excellence,” East Ridge co-head coach Chad Cronin said. “We were fortunate to come out on top. Of course this was the result of a lot of determination, hard work and focus. That connection between practice and race day is strong.”

For East Ridge, senior Bailey Ness and junior Emily Betz led the way, taking first and second place overall, respectively. Ness broke her own East Ridge High School 4K record with a time of 13 minutes, 58 seconds (also a course record) to win the meet. Last year, Ness took third with a time of 14:24, which broke the record at that time.

Betz wasn’t too far back of Ness with a time of 14:03 to take second place. Ness is currently ranked fifth in the state as an individual and Betz is 10th. 

Another junior, Brenley Goertzen, earned seventh place overall, crossing the finish line with a time of 14:38. Sophomore Olivia Hummel (14:40) and senior Sandra Gramer (14:45) rounded out the Raptors’ top five finishers, respectively. In addition, ninth-grader Megan Schiferl and sophomore Anna Betz earned all-conference awards, taking 13th and 18th place, respectively, with times of 14:54 and 15:09. 

All-conference goes to the top 20 overall finishers, with the next 10 being awarded all-conference honorable mention.

The East Ridge boys team earned sixth place at this year’s SEC championship meet. The Raptors totaled 154 place points. Stillwater won the meet with its top five runners taking the top five spots at the meet, totaling just 34 points. Mounds View placed three of its runners in the top 10 for second place (65 points).

For East Ridge, freshman Marcus Haskins had the top finish, taking 23rd place overall with a time of 16:56 in the 5 kilometer run. East Ridge senior Aaron Gorden was the next Raptor across the finish line with a time of 16:59, to take 26th place and fellow senior Ryan Schiferl earned 30th place with a time of 17:08. Haskins, Gorden and Schiferl each earned all-conference honorable mention awards.

In addition, sophomore Peter Betz and senior Roman Faller rounded out the Raptors’ top five with times of 17:21 and 17:26, taking 36th and 39th, respectively.

Next, East Ridge will compete in the Section 4AA race on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the University of Minnesota’s Les Bolstad Golf Course. At sections, the top two teams and the top 10 individual runners in the boys and girls race earn trips to the Class AA state meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

The East Ridge girls have reached the state meet the past three years, winning the section championship twice. The Raptors took fifth place in last year’s state meet — the best finish of the Raptors’ three state meet appearances. East Ridge 2013 graduate Nate Roese is the only male Raptors runner to ever reach the state meet. 

–Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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