Chesterton Knights Make Strong Showing at First Cross-Country Meet

By: Scoop Gilbertson, Esq.

FRIDLEY – On a perfect late afternoon in Fridley the Chesterton Academy boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams, each sporting two runners, participated for the very first time in a competitive meet: the Fridley Peach Run. The well-run event offered a challenging two-mile course and our Knights acquitted themselves with distinction.

Junior Emily Berger led the lady Knights by finishing 26th out of a field of 61. A competitive runner since middle school, Emily ran a strong 16:04. Emily discussed her in-race attitude and the importance of “staying positive during my race and trying to get the negative thoughts (I can’t do this, I’m not strong enough) out of my head.” She was also happy about her results: “I improved all around; not only physically but also mentally. It’s important for runners to be just as strong mentally as they are physically.” In the end, Emily noted that, “I’m running for God and in his glory” and she is very excited for the rest of the season, because “our team is improving every practice and I’m excited to see our hard work pay off as the season progresses.”

Sophomore Hannah Schlough finished in 42nd place, recording a solid 17:55 in her first-ever competitive event. Hannah entered the race feeling nervous, and uncertain about the level of competition she would be facing. However, she added that “overall the race was a really fun experience. It was honestly more challenging that I expected, but that just made me feel even more satisfied crossing the finish line.” Nearing the two-mile mark, she was exhausted but said, “I didn’t want to start walking with all those cheering people by my side. That made all the difference for me.” Summing up her attitude going forward, Hannah said, “I really look forward to the next race so I can push myself even more with the longer 5k course and set some goals this fall. Also, I hope my teammates and I can grow closer and have a really fun season!”


 On the boys’ side, sophomores Jacob and Jonathan Ganzer clocked in at 13:48 and 14:51, respectively, to finish in 58th and 96th places (out of 127 runners). Like Hannah, the Ganzer boys were running their first real cross-country meet. “I felt excited to be competing,” said Jacob, “and the race went great for me. I did better than I expected to, but there is still room for improvement.” Jonathan remarked, “I felt like I was as prepared as I could be for our first meet. Probably the biggest challenge I faced was not getting overcautious and drinking too much water before the race.” Both Ganzers thought the course was good, except for the fact that it consisted of two 1-mile laps (a sentiment shared by all of the Knights). Jacob was proud of the team: “Overall, I thought our team did pretty well for being a new team, and a small one at that.” For Jonathan, the focus is on the next race, “I thoroughly enjoyed the race, but I am eagerly hoping to perform better at the next one.”

The Peach Run is an annual event at Commons Park in Fridley that has been attracting more teams each year. Brad Fisher, head coach at Fridley High School, organizes the event. This year, for the first time, bib chips were used for timing. handled the time and scorekeeping duties. At the end of the race, each runner receives a peach. Tee shirts are given to the top finishers in each race, as well as to some randomly-selected athletes. All in all, it seemed a pleasant early-season event.

Coach Jeff Campbell was enthusiastic after the race, stating that “the kids ran hard, with pretty even splits overall. I’m very proud of the effort I saw out there today.” In future events, Mr. Campbell said he’d be looking for improved pacing to ensure that “our athletes have more in the tank at the end.” The team was especially pleased to see Jacob and Jonathan’s grandparents at the meet and they encourage other classmates and family to attend meets and show support.

The top team on the girls’ side was Spring Lake Park, sprinted to a total of 48 points, besting St. Anthony Village. On the boys’ side Holy Family Catholic ran away with top honors and a total score of 47, narrowly defeating Spring Lake Park (53 points). The top female runner was senior Elizabeth Mattson of the Park Center Pirates. Elizabeth who finished in 12:53. For the boys, senior Suleyman Jafer of Washington Technology Magnet Eagles notched a 10:54.

Given the Minnesota State High School League’s requirement that each team field at least five athletes in order to compete as a team, our Chesterton runners competed as individuals.

Separate races were also run for boys and girls in the 7th through 9th grades.

Complete Team Results:

Girls (Grades 10-12)

1.     Spring Lake Park
2.     St. Anthony Village
3.     Park Center
4.     Holy Family Catholic
5.     Fridley High School
6.     North Lakes Academy
7.     Washington Technical Magnet

Boys (Grades 10-12)

1.     Holy Family Catholic
2.     Spring Lake Park
3.     Washington Tech Magnet
4.     St. Anthony Village
5.     Park Center
6.     Fridley
7.     St. Paul Johnson
8.     Minneapolis Henry
9.     St. Paul Harding
10.  North Lakes Academy
11.  Concordia Roseville
12.  Groves Academy
13.  Brooklyn Center
14.  Twin Cities Academy