Turns out duct tape doesn’t fix quite everything.
Richfield senior Obsa Ali, ranked No. 1 all season, won the Class 2A boys’ race in a time of 15 minutes 15.2 seconds, leaving everything on the 5,000-meter course – including a shoe.
Already sapped by sore shins and a stuffed up nose, Ali felt his right shoe come loose after getting stepped on. When the same thing happened at the section race, Ali had time to twice re-tie the shoe. With much less margin for error at state, he kicked off the shoe with about 400 meters remaining.
“I taped them so they wouldn’t come off this time,” said Ali, who edged out Wayzata junior Connor Olson (15:17.4). “That didn’t help I guess.”
A year ago Ali was the runner-up as a first-time cross country runner who also played varsity soccer. Focusing on running this fall helped Ali take the title.
“He already had a heck of a kick and we did fewer miles at higher speed to make it better,” coach Marty Huberty said. “He went to state looking to win it.”
Wayzata ended Stillwater’s two-year run as state champions and held off an eager Edina team to win its seventh title.
The victorious Trojans, ranked No. 1 all season, went a perfect 5-for-5 in meets featuring their top rivals this year and ran with confidence. Wayzata scored 53 points to top Edina (66) and Stillwater (99).
“We felt if we raced solid it was ours,” coach Bill Miles said. “We would have had to stumble a little bit.”
Juniors Connor Olson and Ian Eklin each dropped time from last season’s state race. And sophomore Jaret Carpenter set a tone by starting fast and pulling Wayzata’s pack along.
“Edina and Stillwater are such talented teams,” senior Aaron Breyer said. “We knew they would bring it and that meant we had to bring it.”
Perham senior Keeghan Hurley helped make state meet history while leading the Yellowjackets to their fifth 1A boys’ title in the past eight seasons.
Hurley won the race in 15:36.7 to complete what is widely considered the first father-son state champion duo. Don Hurley, a Cretin graduate, won in 1976 and 1977. They shared post-race tears and a hug.
“Being able to be a father-son duo means so much to me,” Keeghan said.