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2011 Fall Preview: Roese will lead the way for Raptors boys cross country team in 2011

Last year, Nate Roese was the first-ever East Ridge male runner to reach the state meet. He returns to lead the Raptors this season.

The East Ridge boys cross country running team keeps making steps in the right direction. Two years ago, the Raptors earned 12th place in the Section 4AA meet. Last year, East Ridge was 10th. This year, who knows?

Led by junior runner Nate Roese the Raptors will look to climb the conference and section standings this fall.

"I like to measure success by reaching for excellence and improvement on and off the race course," East Ridge head coach Chad Cronin said. "We had a good percentage of our team members run in our Summer Running Raptors Distance Club. I was impressed at the work they put in with their summer running in and outside of the club."

Last year, Roese became the first-ever East Ridge boys competitor to qualify for a state cross-country meet, placing 48th overall, after taking fifth place at the section race.

Ryan Schiferl had the Raptors' second-best finish at sections, followed by Dylan Brooks, and Tom Dierberger, respectively.

Between girls and boys teams, there are a record of over-70 runners out for cross country at East Ridge this fall.

"We have much more experience with our varsity team," Cronin said. "This will be the first year we have seniors making consistent varsity line ups."

As far as competition goes, Cronin said the usual suspects are the teams to beat in the conference and section -- Stillwater, Roseville and White Bear Lake.

Key races for the Raptors boys include: Thursday, Oct. 8, at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park, the Milaca Mega Meet on Saturday, Sept. 24, and the SEC Championships on Tuesday, Oct. 18.