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Highland Park girls first St. Paul public school team to win cross-country state title

By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune, 12/13/21, 5:18PM CST


Scots runners weren’t certain they did enough on a warm fall day for racing.

Runners enjoyed a sunny, warm fall day for the girls class 2A state cross country meet on the campus of St. Olaf College in Northfield [Shari L. Gross, Star Tribune]

NORTHFIELD, Minn. -- By 3:30 p.m. Saturday, as the Class 2A girls hit the 5,000-meter course at St. Olaf College in Northfield, temperatures approached 70 degrees. The cross-country state meet favorites from St. Paul Highland Park felt a different sort of heat — pressure to achieve an historic victory.

The Scots succeeded. With a winning score of 61, they became the first St. Paul public school to win a cross-country state title. It wasn’t easy. In fact, Highland Park runners weren’t certain they did enough.

“A lot of us felt like we didn’t have good races,” said senior Molly Moening, projected to be in the mix for the individual title but who placed fifth. “It was hot, and I wasn’t having the individual day I wanted. But I just kept thinking, ‘I’ve got to do it for them; every point matters.’ ”

Moening and teammates Ellie Moore, Chloe Koch, Sam Palm and Ziva Westreich contributed to the team score.

Hutchinson sophomore Isabelle Schmitz won the individual race.

Weimer wins again

As a freshman, Ali Weimer placed first as St. Michael-Albertville won its inaugural state championship. She took home some individual hardware as a senior, too, and once again, didn’t do it alone.

Weimer won the Class 3A race in a time of 17 minutes, 42.81 seconds and credited Hopkins sophomore Sydney Drevlow, the second-place finisher, for pushing her to glory. The two shared an embrace near the finish line.

“She is so funny; I love that girl,” Weimer said. “She’s like, ‘Good job,’ and I’m like, ‘You killed me, girl. If you weren’t there, I don’t know if I would have done it.’ ”


Edina brought home its fourth state title in seven seasons, technically six since the Minnesota State High School League didn’t sanction a race in 2020.

Senior Maggie Wagner had a good feeling early, when she saw sophomore Ella Hinkie running near the front.

“She was kind of pushing the pace at the start and I was super proud of her for that,” Wagner said. “I was like, ‘It’s going to be a great race.’ ”

Class 1A champions

Staples-Motley overtook two-time defending champion Perham as the state’s top small-school program. The Cardinals tallied 103 points, a mere six better than Perham, to win their first title since 2003.

Murray County Central junior Amanda Overgaauw breezed to the individual title in a time of 18:09.13, more than 35 seconds ahead of the pack.

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