After years of falling just seconds behind the championship line, Edina Boys’ Cross Country finally posed with their well-deserved state championship trophy last October at the Minnesota State High School League cross-country state meet. “The feeling was kind of surreal,” senior and captain Sean Baird said. “I think everybody was in shock that it actually happened because the team had been so close so many times. It was really cool to have that feeling.”
The state title was the premier one for Edina’s Boys’ Cross Country, and members of the team can attest to the fact that it was hard-earned. The team had received third and second place in previous years and has had top finishes over the past fifteen years. However, winning the title has always been a goal.
Senior and captain Gus Hubbell has been on the team since seventh grade and has watched the team inch closer to the title with progressing years. “[Last] season was definitely our top chance I think I’ve ever seen,” Hubbell said.
It took a long and rough path to get to that point. Several injuries left members of the team out for the year, taking a hit on the overall team results, but more importantly, the team’s chemistry. Sophomore Otto Schreiner stress fractured his leg and was out for the year, as well as senior captain Noah Kabel, who dislocated his knee at sections — the race before state. “They didn’t just hurt us because it obviously made us worse as a team, but overall it just hurt the team chemistry and morale,” Hubbell said. “It was hard to see guys just drop out that fast.”
As for this season’s goals, the team is hoping for a repeat. “We had a few top guys graduate but we’re hoping we can do that again,” senior captain Russell Gokemeijer said. One of the top graduates was Max Manley, who placed third at the state meet last year. “A lot of the running sites are sleeping on us now,” Hubbell said. “They think we stink because we lost Max.”
Additionally, the team continues to face extensive injuries this season. “Right now, we have four of our top five injured,” Baird said. With injuries affecting so many of the runners, the team is placing an emphasis on staying healthy and icing. “We’re coming back,” Baird added.
The loss of seniors and addition of lowerclassmen to the team has shifted the team dynamic for this season as well, but the team has taken a positive outlook. “It’s really different this year,” Gokemeijer said. “And while we miss those guys, our team is closer than it’s ever been,” he added.
Another goal of the team is to make it to nationals this year. Last season, they were up for an at-large bid, meaning they were not conference champs, but Nike could still recognize them for nationals. After barely missing out, their major goal is to make it this year.
The team is aiming for a strong season despite certain setbacks such as injuries and the loss of seniors. However, their win last year has set them up for a successful season, and the team is willing to overcome hurdles along the way. “I think proving all those guys wrong, the haters if you will, that would be pretty sweet.” Hubbell said.