North cross country harriers ‘uniform’ in CSC championships

The North High Polars boys left little doubt this year as to who the Classic Suburban Conference cross country champions were.

A year ago the Polars were declared the conference winners but the decision was reversed on a controversial decision regarding the uniform of one of the runners. The title was stripped from the Polars.

On Oct. 18, at the 5000-meter course at St. Croix Bluffs in Hastings, the Polars left no room for uncertainty as to the outcome of the race.

With every North runner in sync with the official code, the Polars utilized a balance of power to run away from the field in the CSC championships.

The race, run in the near ideal conditions of the day, saw the North runners compile 68 points, led by junior Mike Howard’s sixth place finish in a time of 17:01.

In second place were the St. Thomas Cadets with 85 points.

“This year’s team has had its ups and downs, but throughout it all, they’ve hung in there,” North cross country coach Dave Terry said. “Their bond in friendship has made them a success on and off the field.”

Terry continued and reflected to the decision made a year ago.

“After last year’s shameful debacle, it’s a relief to finally put that incident behind us.”

Perhaps a harbinger of the Classic Suburban Conference championship came back on Sept. 17 when the Polars placed second in the prestigious Milacca Mega Invitational.

“Milaca doesn’t host the best teams in the state, but the meet is the biggest,” Terry said. “Years ago, if someone would have told me, one day our team would be second in this race, I would’ve passed it off as an overly ambitious, well-intentioned compliment, but that’s all.”

Not any more. The Polars reached the conference zenith for the second year running. But this year, they were able to carry home the trophy.

In cross country competitions, seven runners compete for each school. The places of the top five finishers count in the final tabulation of points.

Behind Howard’s sixth place time of 17:01 were Tom Blattner (9) at 17:30, Gary O’Leary (11) at 17:34, Peter Lindstrom (12) at 17:42, and Erick Krueger (30) at 18:43.

Rounding out the Polars contingent were Ben Garbers (40) at 19:06 and Cameron Burge (50) at 20:12.

For the third place Titans, Zach Boumeester led the way with a time of 17:27, good for eighth place. He was followed by Joe McCauley (14) at 17:57, Colin Madson (16) at 18:06; Jeremy Phillippi (24) at 18:26, Nate Korf (26) at 18:29., John Harrington (32) at 18:48 and Ryan Morisette (45) at 19:46.

The sixth place Hill-Murray Pioneers were led by junior Bryan Jamieson who placed 13th with a time of 17:48. Jamieson was followed by Luke Bohnen (17) at 18:10, Kyle Ryan (29) at 18:36, Jon Welle (31) at 18:46, Greg Ahl (33) at 18:50, Andrew Klein (42) at 19:11 and Zach Arney (56) at 22:16.

Finishing at the head of the pack was Sibley pace-setter Jonathan Stublaski. The junior broke the tape in a time of 16:31, to finish nine seconds ahead of second place finisher, George Williams of St. Thomas.

The top 10 individuals in the 56-runner field for the CSC title were: 1.) Stublaski, Sibley, 16:31; 2.) Williams, St. Thomas, 16:40; 3.) Chad Ernst, Richfield, 16:49; 4.) Andy Wellens, Simley, 16:54; 5.) John Vallez, Sibley, 16:59; 6.) Howard, North, 17:01; 7.) Alex Reich, Mahtomedi, 17:15l 8.) Boumeester, Tartan, 17:27; 9.) Blattner, North, 17:30; and 10.) Austin Omodt, St. Thomas, 17:31.

The final team totals were as follows: 1.) North, 68; 2.) St. Thomas, 85; 3.) Tartan, 88; 4.) Richfield, 94; 5.) Sibley, 108; 6.) Hill-Murray, 123; 7.) Mahtomedi, 131; and 8.) Simley, 166.

South St. Paul did not enter a complete team, so the Packers were not included in the final results.

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