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2013 Year in Review: Raptors run to second at state, Nike national race

The East Ridge girls cross country running team finished in second place in their fourth-straight Class AA state meet appearance at St. Olaf College in Northfield in November. (Bulletin file photo)

The East Ridge girls cross country running team made some big strides in 2013.

The Raptors finished in second place in their fourth-straight Class AA state meet appearance at St. Olaf College in Northfield in November.

“That is what we wanted,” East Ridge senior Bailey Ness said after the race. “We’ve been shooting for it for four years now. I’m really excited for my team. It’s a really good feeling.”

East Ridge improved its finish in each of its four state meet appearances. East Ridge took fifth place in the state last year, sixth place the year before and eighth place in its first-ever state meet. 

However, earning second place allowed the Raptors to celebrate on the podium and bring a trophy – which go to the top three teams – back to Woodbury for the first time.

“It’s quite an accomplishment,” East Ridge co-head coach Chad Cronin said. “There’s no shortcut to results like that, it’s hard work.”

East Ridge finished with 134 place points for second place. Wayzata finished as the Class AA state champions with 37 points. The Trojans’ top seven runners all finished in the top 20 overall.

East Ridge was led by all-state performances by Ness and junior Emily Betz. Betz took fifth place overall with a time of 14 minutes, 30.8 seconds and Ness earned 21st place overall with a time of 14:45.4 in the 4-kilometer race. The top 25 individual runners at the state meet earn all-state. It was the second straight all-state honor for Betz and the third all-state award earned by Ness. In addition junior Brenley Goertzen took 61st overall, senior Sandra Gramer earned 74th place and sophomore Olivia Hummel took 83rd to round out the Raptors’ top five. The Raptors reached the state meet after defending its Section 4AA championship, winning its third section title in the past four years.

East Ridge, which also earned a fourth straight Suburban East Conference championship this past year, won every meet it ran in except for the state meet. 

The Raptors rounded out the year by running in the Nike Cross National race in Portland, Ore., in December. East Ridge earned the trip to Oregon by taking second place at the Nike Cross Nationals Heartland Regional race in Sioux Falls, S.D., in November.

“In my eighth grade year if someone would have told me for my senior year we’d be on the podium as a team together I wouldn’t have believed them,” Ness said. “It was great to see what our team could do.”

-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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