Larson leads the way for Tigers
The Rush City cross-country team had two top-10 finishers at the North Branch meet on Thursday, Sept. 12, while the Tiger boys took fourth place of five teams with 67 points.
Senior Garrett Larson led his team with an eighth-place finish out of 34 runners on the boys side with a time of 18:48, followed by junior Kevin Nelson in 16th place in 19:26 and sophomore Ethan Rundquist in 19th place with a time of 19:54.
Rounding out the scoring for the Tigers was sophomore Devan Larson and junior Zeth Langworthy in 23rd and 25th places, respectively.
Head coach Kevin Smith said the boys made a mistake in jumping out of the gates early with too quick of a pace for the 5K race, namely, running the first mile at a 5:05 pace. Larson, who still finished as a top placer, averages about a 5:50 pace, one reason the Tigers slowed down after hitting the first mile mark.
“They should have worked up to a good pace instead of going so fast right away,” Smith said. “One thing we emphasize is everyone knowing their pace, but that’s part of learning to race, and I think we still ran pretty strong.”
Smith said the big competition was Irondale, who eased into a first-place finish with 24 points, followed by Pine City with 42.
“Irondale is a big, good school with strong runners,” Smith said. “But that’s good for us. The only way to get better to compete against those tough schools.”
On the girls side, the Tigers debuted a foreign exchange student from the Czech Republic, Kamila Kleiberoura, who earned 10th place of 28 runners in her first appearance for Rush City.
Kleiberoura led the Tigers with a time of 17:33, followed by senior Sammi Oscarson in 20th place with a time of 18:44.
Rush City’s final varsity runner, junior Payton Ramberg, finished in 27th place with a time of 19:53.
“Kamila did very well for her first race and was pretty impressive,” Smith said. “Sammi ran strong as well and was fairly predictable with her pace for this time of year.”
Both the Tiger boys and girls head to Milaca on Saturday, Sept. 21, for the Milaca Mega Meet, featuring more than 3,000 runners. The race begins at 10 a.m.