October is championship season in cross country, and Apple Valley’s first meet of the month — at the St. Michael-Albertville Invitational on Tuesday — could prove to be an important step forward for the Eagles.
They did their best pack running of the season on Tuesday, as strong performances from their seniors helped the Eagles finish fourth in the meet with 107 points (two fewer than Centennial).
The most important races of the day for the Eagles, in a meet full of personal records, might have come from captain Max Moynihan and fellow senior Ethan Monsen. Both posted PRs in the meet, helping drop Apple Valley’s spread (the time between the first runner and the fifth runner) from 1:28 at the Eagle Invitational to just 51 seconds on Tuesday. Moynihan shaved nearly 50 seconds off the best time of his career, finishing 35th overall in 17:47.2. He came in just behind Monsen, who was 32nd in 17:44.2.
Apple Valley’s top three runners all posted their best times of the season, as senior captain George Knier broke 17 minutes for the first time in his career. Knier had his typical strong kick to pull into 10th place overall, finishing the race in 16:56.5. Junior Nicholas Pederson ran 17:02.7, setting a PR by 1.1 seconds and finishing 12th overall. Senior captain Brandon Roberts was next for the Eagles; Roberts continued his strong surge in the second half of the season, placing 18th overall in a PR of 17:15.5.
The Eagles’ top seven was completed by sophomore Elliot Ewald (55th place, 18:21.1) and senior Noah Pearson (58th, 18:31.7). Junior Karl Van Horsen, junior Justin Stremski and sophomore Luke Howard also ran in the varsity race, all finishing with PRs of 18:35.7, 19:21 and 19:35.9, respectively.
In the JV race, freshman Nicholas Schwartz paced the Eagles with a 23rd-place finish, posting a PR of 19:11.6. Senior Elijah Mortenson ran the fastest time of his career by more than a minute, finishing in 19:48.8, and freshman Luke Fischbach continued a strong day for the Eagles’ youngest runners, coming in just behind Mortenson in 19:48.9.
Apple Valley will be in action next at the South Suburban Conference Championships on Friday, Oct. 13, as the Eagles battle the other nine teams in their conference at Eagan High School.