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Cross-Country: Wingers fly high at home

The Red Wing boys cross-country team (left), with the rest of the field, get ready to take off before the start of Friday’s 5-kilometer Red Wing Invitational at Red Wing High School. (Republican Eagle photos by Joe Brown)1 / 3
Red Wing’s George Nemanich sprints ahead of a Northfield runner on the way to the finish line. Nemanich finished in fourth place at 16 minutes, 54.31 seconds.2 / 3
Red Wing’s Jasmyn Armstrong heads down the final stretch of Friday’s Red Wing Invitational. She finished in seventh place at 15 minutes, 43.89 seconds.3 / 3

Red Wing boys run a smart race to secure the team title

With 10 teams and a sharp wind making things tough for the runners at the Red Wing Invitational Friday, Wingers’ head cross-country coach Jesse Nelson told his team to take their time instead of starting too quickly like last year’s home invite. 

“You have to run smart out there,” Nelson said. “The boys know this course really well … and in conditions like this, you have to run conservative.”

Taking the coach’s advice to heart, the Red Wing runners stayed together and pulled ahead of the competition, taking first place in the home meet with a team score of 49 points. 

Winona (71), Woodbury (79), Rochester Mayo (82) and Northfield (150) rounded out the top five.

“This was a definite improvement over how we ran on Tuesday in New Prague,” Nelson said.

With most of the team’s runners sporting mohawks, as has become the home-meet tradition over the last several years, the Wingers were led by Aiden Winn and George Nemanich, who finished in third and fourth place, respectively. 

“I think we’re a pretty good-looking team,” Winn said with a laugh as he described the team’s new haircuts.

“I drafted behind the pack for the first mile and a half,” Winn added, ‘then once I got to the hill, I picked it up and started to get to the front.”

While the Red Wing boys wouldn’t score any points for their hairdos, their strong performance paid off as they continue to impress against a field heavy on Section 1AA competition.

Winn finished in 16 minutes, 49.57 seconds, and Nemanich was right there at 16:54.31.

“With the wind out there, Coach Nelson wanted us to start out slow and run conservatively to start out,” Nemanich said. “Our guys did a great job of sticking together.”

Marcus Warrington placed 12th at 17:30.15, while Joe Partington (17:42.18) and Ryan Schnaith (17:49.07) each finished in the top 20 at 14th and 16th, respectively. 

Taking first place individually was Winona’s Hunter Bailey. The seventh-ranked runner in Class 2A, the Winhawks runner finished in 16:03.54, over 35 seconds faster than the second-place runner, Taylor Voit of Woodbury (16:38.96). 

Following Winn and Nemanich, Northfield’s Corbin Godfrey rounded out the top five with a time of 16:56.63.

“Coming into the race, we wanted to stay ahead of some of the section teams like Winona and Mayo, and with the way they started, we wanted to keep up with Woodbury,” Winn said. “And we did a really good job with all that today. It was a good race for us.”

Red Wing races again on Oct. 5 in Alexandria.

Winger girls stay undefeated against 1AA foes, place 2nd

After a rough, injury-plagued 2012 season, the Red Wing girls cross-country team is proving to be a force in the regular season. 

Earlier this week, the Winger girls pulled off a victory over in New Prague, showcasing their strong running ability against teams in the Missota Conference, as well as teams in the Big Nine Conference, the team’s home next season. 

Even more importantly, Red Wing has proven to be one of the teams to watch out for in Section 1AA.

“I don’t think they’ve lost to a section opponent this year, and we’re undefeated against Big Nine teams,” said Wingers’ cross-country head coach Jesse Nelson. “We haven’t gone against the top teams like Lakeville North and Lakeville South, but the girls are beating the teams that we’ve seen and they continue to improve.”

Getting their lone opportunity to run at home this season, the Red Wing girls put in a strong second-place showing with a team score of 94. 

Roseville, which was ranked as high as eighth this season, took first place with a team score of36, followed by Red Wing, Northfield (107), Owatonna (111) and Woodbury (127). 

More importantly for the Wingers, the team finished first among the six Section 1AA teams in the field, including Northfield, Owatonna, Rochester Mayo, Winona and Hastings.

“We did a great job running as a team today,” said Red Wing seventh-grader Jasmyn Armstrong. “We love running with each other, and it’s so much fun to be with everyone.”

After getting stuck behind a pack of runners early on, Armstrong was able to finish strong with a seventh-place time of 15 minutes, 43.89 seconds. Teammate Lindsay Scribner wasn’t far behind, placing 16th at 16:07.73.

Elle Bryant (16:13.72) placed 18th, and Adelle DeSutter (16:46.33) and Emily Hart (16:51.14) managed to sneak into the top 30, taking 28th and 30th, respectively. 

“These girls have been an outstanding group to coach all year,” Nelson said.

Led by Caroline Brisbois’ first-place time of 14:25.81, Roseville won the girls’ race with ease, thanks to having three runners finish in the top five. Lindsay Lee (15:23.82) and Naomi Boehm (15:25.95) strengthened the Raiders’ pack by taking third and fourth, respectively. 

Caitlin Domeyer of Winona took second place with a time of 15:05.68, and Northfield’s Kaia Bierman rounded out the top five at 15:33.22.

“Roseville is always very tough competition and we enjoy having them come down every year,” Nelson said. “Both our boys and girls ran great races today, and we hope we can keep that going when we go to Alexandria next week.”

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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