Edina Girls’ Cross Country to compete at Nike Cross Nationals

Emma Bailey, page editor

Sprinting towards the finish, heart racing and lungs burning, senior Emily Kompelien was the first Edina Girls’ Cross Country runner to cross the finish line at the 2017 regionals competition after running a 5k (3.1 miles). Out of 243 runners, Kompelien won 6th place with a time of 17:15.26 seconds. The seven Edina runners each ran with a time under 18:45, averaging a less than 6 minute mile. When taking into account the success of their past seasons, it’s no surprise that the Edina Girls’ XC team has done well this year. After placing extremely high at the Nike Cross Regionals Heartland (including teams from Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin), the team is excited to be making their way out to Portland, Oregon for the Nike Cross Nationals Competition on Dec. 2.

Early in their season, the varsity team faced a myriad of struggles, including injuries and the loss of last year’s seniors. While the team members, composed of the school’s top seven runners, switched around, the girls had no trouble creating and sustaining a great team dynamic full of high morale and unbreakable friendships. “During the summer we had a cross country camp. We all met together and talked about our season’s goals,” sophomore Sadie Schreiner said. “I think that was the turning moment for the season.” At camp, both tears and miles were abundant as the girls prepared for their upcoming season, determined to improve from last year.

In order to get them where they are now, the team—composed of two seniors, two sophomores, two juniors, and one eighth grader—had to train extremely hard. Their head coach, Matt Gabrielson, worked to target the girls’ weaknesses in order to build a stronger team. With every struggle, both physical and mental, the girls became even closer. Natural leaders began to step up, assisting the entire team in both enjoyment and improvement. “He’s always reinforcing that we can do it and I think he’s really proud of us,” senior Emily Kompelien said of Gabrielson.

At the regionals race, Schreiner was unable to run due to the restrictions of her religion; senior Julianne Logan ran in her place at the meet. Logan performed incredibly well at regionals, placing higher than over 170 other runners and making it possible for the team to advance at nationals. Despite any tension within the team, Schreiner is incredibly thankful for all of her teammates. “I’m just really proud of them, I’m really grateful that they’re willing to just be there for each other.”