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Cannon Falls’ Emi Trost, shown receiving her Section 1A first-place medal, hopes to leave Saturday’s state cross-country championship as the Class 1A state champion. (RE file photo)

Cross-Country: Cannon Falls' Trost looks to go out as a champ

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Many of the names will be familiar, but only one is expected to win. When Cannon Falls senior Emi Trost toes the starting line at the Class A girls cross-country meet Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield, the logical conclusion would be that Trost will be the first to cross the finish line.

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Ranked No. 1 all season, Trost will be competing in her fifth state meet. Trost, however, is still seeking her first state championship after finishing second in both 2011 and 2012.

And with two-time defending champion Clare Flanagan off to Class AA (though not a part of Blake’s section team, ending her high school career), it’s Trost who will look to fend off the likes of St. Cloud Christian’s McKenzie Holt and Litchfield’s Savannah Ramirez, both of whom finished in the top 10 last year.

But Trost isn’t treating her final week of high school cross-country any differently than she did any of the previous five years. Well, except that it is her last week.

“Just kind of like a normal week, I think,” Trost said. “You know, every moment up to this point has been special, especially as a senior. You treasure the last practices at the school and the process leading up. My last state meet will be special too.”

To make it just a little more special, Trost needs to keep improving on her times from her last four trips to St. Olaf. Last year, Trost completed the 4-kilometers in 14 minutes, 16.5 seconds. That was 12.4 seconds behind Flanagan, but 13.3 seconds ahead of Holt. And by the time the gun goes off, Trost will have gone through each hill and turn many more times in her head.

“It helps a ton,” Trost said of having experience in Northfield. “When you can run a course in your sleep, practically, you’re a lot more prepared. And as a senior, you’ve been running for five years in cross-country, you know how to run races, I know how people run at the state meet, I know how to get out fast, where people start to kick. Just that knowledge of the race in general, it does help.”

But, really, the only help Trost is likely to need is a small bit of good luck. As long as she can get through her final few days of practice, and can stay out of any physical harm during the actual race, it’s Trost’s trophy to lose.

“Any kid can have their given race, you know,” said Cannon Falls head coach Ben Schopp. “But on paper, it looks favorable for her. She has to look out for that darkhorse, that kid that just goes with her like scared rabbits, and all of a sudden they crank out this time, if that kid is out there, that would be her only fear. Not that she’s expressed that, that’s my fear, I guess.”

And though the word “fear” was not mentioned, Trost knows exactly what Schopp is describing.

“There’s always a surprise, that’s the joy of running, there’s always someone where you go, ‘Oh, how did they get up here?’” Trost said.

But barring a miracle mile or two from an unknown, the prevailing wisdom is that Trost is running as a formality.

“There’s no doubt in my cross-country mind, that this will be her finest 14 minutes,” Schopp said. And when asked if he truly meant to leave any seconds off the end of the comment, Schopp had little hesitation. “Somewhere around 14.”

As far as Trost is concerned, winning a title will take care of itself as long as she meets the relatively simple goals she has set for herself.

“I want to feel strong running. I had a strong section meet, and I want to feel that same way, just get done and feel good, feel strong, feel like I gave it my best, gave it my all,” Trost said. “The other big thing, too, is the other night, we had a devotional … and it was about competing with joy, that you’re out there to have fun and that you play the game with joy. That, to me, is a big thing, too, to go out there and have fun. Running, people say it’s not a sport, but it’s awesome. I love every part about it. I want to go out there and make it look like I’m having fun. Because I am.”

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Kyle Stevens
Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at kstevens@republican-eagle.com, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
(651) 301-7879
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