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East Ridge depth shows in St. Croix Bluffs meet

East Ridge junior Joseph Reimann runs to the finish line during a Thursday, Sept. 7, cross-country meet at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
East Ridge's Abby Witte closes in on the finish line during a Thursday, Sept. 7, cross-country race at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

The depth of the East Ridge cross-country teams showed on the trails of St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park on Thursday, Sept. 7.

The state-ranked Red Wing girls' and boys' cross-country teams both took first place at the Dewey Minnaert Invitational, but behind them were the East Ridge boys' and girls' cross-country teams.

The boys' team finished second with a team score of 85, behind Red Wing which scored a 46. The East Ridge girls' team scored 54 points, behind Red Wing's 36.

The top East Ridge finisher was Joseph Reimann, who last year qualified as an individual to the Class 2A state cross-country meet. Reimann ran to a third-place finish with a time of 16 minutes, 31 seconds in the 5-kilometer race. The time was less than 10 seconds short of winner Trenton Allen, an Eagan senior who crossed the line in 16:23.

It was another good meet after Reimann placed ninth in the large St. Olaf High School showcase with a time of 16:59.

"In the beginning of the season, I had a good meet at St. Olaf," Reimann said. "This turned out pretty well, too. I think I'm set up for a good year."

Rounding out the East Ridge scorers were Ryan Imse in 14th (17:11), Michael Cauthorn in 21st (17:37), Zach Getting in 23rd (17:39) and Eric Gramer in 24th (17:43).

This year's East Ridge boys' team has come together for offseason practices, and the work together has started to pay off.

"This year's group kind of has a common goal," coach Chad Cronin said.

The East Ridge runners made it a goal to get all the runners to meet for offseason practices over the summer. The team met at least five days a week to run together.

"This summer we worked together, so we are really growing," Reimann said. "I think we're going to have a good season this year."

East Ridge girls

Senior Abby Witte paced the East Ridge girls' team with a sixth-place finish of 20:23.

Witte is the girls team's lone returning state participant from last season. Now that she is a senior, Witte has some bigger goals than in years past. She increased her speed and hill work over the summer with hopes to have her best season as a senior.

"I definitely have higher goals than I've normally had, and there is more pressure to meet them because this is the last chance I'll have to meet them," Witte said.

One of her goals is to break the 19-minute mark this year, and her career best time is 19:21.

Right behind Witte was eighth-grader Halle Mestery, who finished seventh with a time of 20:26. This fall is Mestery's first season on the varsity team. But surveying her abilities in middle school track and field helped Cronin realize what she would bring to the varsity.

"She was thinking she might come out this year, and she has," he said. "She is already chasing down those top spots, which is pretty good to see."

Rounding out the East Ridge varsity scorers were Gwyneth Gerlach in 12th place (21:05), Eleasha McKenzie in 14th (21:08) and Tatum Geving in 15th (21:18).

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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