PRINCETON — The Hibbing High School boys cross country team placed 11th at the Section 7AA Meet held Thursday at the Princeton Golf Course.
Andover won the team event with 45 points, followed by Duluth East with 86. Forest Lake had 101, Big Lake 119, Cloquet 153, Cambridge-Isanti 154, Grand Rapids 169, Duluth Denfeld 183, Princeton 186, Elk River 248, then the Bluejackets at 291.
Rounding out the field were St. Francis at 315, Zimmerman 357, Hermantown 407 and North Branch 453.
Individually, David Platt ran a time of 17:38 to place 22nd.
“David ran a smart, gritty race,” Hibbing coach James Plese said. “He had a season’s-best time. Throughout his career, he has provided us with a solid-race mentality and a mental toughness to fight through workouts even when his body would fail him.
“We are proud of the way David competed this season.”
Platt was followed in by Zach Rusich in 51st in 18:50.
“Zach finished the season strong after battling through injuries this year,” Plese said. “He saved his best for last, running consecutive season-best races at the most important time of the year. He should have a solid senior year.”
Ethan Roy was 66th (19:23), Taite Murden 74th (19:36), Carson Brown 78th (19:45), Owen Hendrickson 81st (20:07) and Preston Sladek 94th (20:59).
“Ethan went out and competed,” Plese said. “He had some unforeseen circumstances and missed some valuable training time, but he ended on a strong note. Taite and Carson, this was their first time at sections.
“They both ran near their average times on the season. They can use this as a learning experience. Owen, we’re proud of the way he ran this year. He battled in every race. Preston, it wasn’t his best performance, but he was dinged up coming into the race. He never gave up.”
The Bluejackets just missed their goal of finishing in the top 10.
“This was a tough season to get used to, but the boys had a mix of two veteran runners and a slew of inexperienced runners,” Plese said. “The foundation looks to be strong, and we are proud of the way the boys competed in each race they ran this season.”
On the girls side, Hibbing placed sixth with 192 points.
Andover won with 40, followed by Duluth East 65, Forest Lake 67, Zimmerman 127 and Cambridge-Isanti 154.
Finishing behind Hibbing were Grand Rapids 213, Hermantown 228, Elk River 246, Big Lake 247, Cloquet 260, Princeton 301, North Branch 361 and Duluth Denfeld 377.
Charleigh Hartl was the Bluejackets top finisher. She placed 32nd in 21:22.
“Charleigh ran her best race of the season,” Plese said. “She looked locked in today, and went out and competed. We were happy to see her hard work pay off.”
Aune Boben was 34th in 21:26, followed by Jocelyn Strukel 35th (21:27).
“Aune and Jocelyn, they ran most of the race together,” Plese said. “They did a nice job pushing each other. They both ran faster than their average times this season.”
Gianna Figueroa was 44th (21:43), Jorie Anderson 47th (21:54), Audra Murden 49th (22:03) and Reese Aune 55th (22:25).
“Gianna stepped up with another PR today,” Plese said. “Jorie ran faster than her average time, and Audra ran a PR in this race. Reese was a bit off today, but her time was within five seconds of her average times this season.
Placing sixth was right around the spot Plese thought they would finish.
“We would all be disingenuous if we said the race went exactly how we wanted to go, but we do have a few things to be proud of,” Plese said. “They all finished within one minute of each other, so our pack was strong.
“The girls finished in the top half of the section, which is something to be proud of. On the coaching side, I feel like some of the training adjustments made by myself didn’t pan out correctly, so I will take the blame for some of today’s results going a bit awry. The girls stepped up, and competed in every race they ran, even if the training was a bit off.”