In the Section 3AA Championships at Valleywood Golf Course on Thursday, four of Apple Valley’s seven runners finished with the fastest times of their careers as the Eagles’ boys team placed 8th in the 16-team meet.
Senior Nicholas Pederson finished his career with a personal record time of 16:50.1, placing 20th overall. It was the second time in Pederson’s four-year career where he finished the season as the Eagles’ top runner in every race.
Freshman Abdi Khalif was next for Apple Valley, as he continued to move up the Eagles’ freshman record list with a time of 17:18.5. Khalif’s performance, which was good for 39th overall, made him the fifth-fastest freshman in the section meet. He finished his first season as the third-fastest freshman in Apple Valley history, topping two-time state meet qualifier Greg Dowe for third and coming within a second of the second-fastest freshman time, set by Jordan Bremer at the Section 6AA meet in 1997.
Senior captain Jonathan Connors was next for the Eagles, taking 51st with a time of 17:40.9 — the fastest time of Connors’ career by nearly 24 seconds. Junior Elliot Ewald also broke 18:00 for the first time in his career, setting a personal record of 17:51.2 and finishing 58th overall.
Senior Justin Stremski (66th, 17:59.2) rounded out the Eagles’ scorers, breaking 18:00 for the second time in his career. Junior Maq Collins (68th, 18:11.6) and sophomore Riley Smith (76th, 18:30.2) closed out Apple Valley’s lineup, with senior Karl Van Horsen and sophomore Nicholas Schwartz serving as the Eagles’ alternates on Thursday.
As the Eagles head into 2019 after their first season under head coach Justin LaValle, they’ll return four of their top seven runners, and five of the nine who were part of their section meet team. They’ll also look to returners like freshman Abram Liszka, sophomore Luke Fischbach, as well as a new class of incoming freshmen, to take the next step forward.