Run, Run, Run, Run, Run Away!

Another milestone!  This is the 600th blog post!  If you haven’t read them all yet, I suggest you begin immediately.  It will affect your next property tax estimate.  Anyway, I’m going to celebrate with a glass of prune juice.

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[One week after an 80-degree weekend, “Weakie” picked me up for the 42nd Lions Meet of Champions at Arrowwood Resort.  26 cross-country teams from all over the state participated.  This is the line-up for the JV boys – I believe it was mentioned there were over 300 runners in just this race.  There were 6 separate races, boys and girls at junior high, JV, and varsity levels.  Oh, and I did I mention we were wearing parkas?  I believe the wind chills may have been in the 20’s when this race began.

Over 1500 runners from 26 schools will be taking part in this event. The first race will be the girls’ junior high division at10:30 a.m. followed at 10:50 by the junior high boys, 11:15 junior varsity women, 11:45 junior varsity men, 12:15 varsity women and 12:45 varsity men.  The awards ceremony will take place at 1:15 p.m. on the shores of beautiful Lake Darling.

 

Schools participating in this prestigious event are:  Alexandria, Becker, Bemidji, Buffalo, Chanhassen, Chaska, Cretin-Derham Hall, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Marshall, Monticello, Moorhead, Mounds View, Red Wing, Roseville, Sartell, St. Cloud Apollo, St. Cloud Cathedral, St. Cloud Tech, St. Thomas Academy, Stillwater, White Bear Lake, Willmar and Windom.

 

The women’s varsity race will feature the number the one, two and third ranked in girls in the Minnesota State Coaches Association.  Alexandria’s Megan Hasz and Bethany Hasz are the top runners ranked 1st and 2nd place respectively followed by Bemidji’s Jenna Truedson in third place.  There are 6 women’s team participating that are ranked in the top 10 teams in the state. The men’s varsity race will feature 4 teams and two individual runners  who are currently ranked in the top ten.  ~  Cardinal Connection

 

mavsflynnnancy'86-3-1I have to admit I’ve never understood the reason for running just for the sake of running?  I can understand running for go from 1st to 3rd on a hit to rightfield . . . but just for its own sake?  You can work up a real sweat (something I’ve always strongly opposed) and you can go into oxygen debt (in certain situations, that can be considered torture).  But if somebody wants to do it for my personal entertainment, and they’re very good at it, I can enjoy it from that standpoint.  In this instance, we have Megan and Bethany Hasz, the top two runners in the state from Alex, our boys’ team has had a good year, and the Willmar girls’ team (long time conference rivals) are ranked No. 1 in the state and have beaten Wayzata, which was ranked No. 1 in the nation last year and have a good core back.]

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[We only live a mile from Arrowwood.  We parked in the stable fields where Rainbow Riders were running shuttles to and from the event.  As I was lugging all my reportorial camera equipment, it was nice of “Weakie” to offer sledding it into position.]

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[We were soon joined by other fans seeking to find the starting line from our drop-off point.]

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[We knew we were getting close when we stumbled upon our Cardinals’ tent.]

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[Looking back at whence we came, the water park and the large orange conveyances that ferry the performers to the event.]

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[Two more self-identified tents.  In other years, it was fun to just wander to see the colorful tents for all the teams.  This was not a day conducive to wandering.]

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[A further clue we were getting close to the starting point was when someone offered, “Hey, old people, you’re standing on the race path!”]

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[And there they were coming around in the distance.  The ongoing race when we arrived was the JV girls, several thousands of them!]

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[A bit of color and bareness as the runners disappear into the distance.]

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[We finally staggered to the starting line as the JV boys were assembling, in larger masses than the girls!]

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[This would be the fairway they would charge down when the gun sounded.]

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[A “selfie” to prove we were indeed braving the elements.  I’m guessing wind chills were in the 20’s early on.]

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[Protect the women and children!  The stampede is about to begin.]

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[And there they go!]

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[As the thundering herd rumbled down the fairway, we saw deer and turtles fleeing for their lives in all directions.]

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[Gone now, there was evidence of the after effects of fracking.]

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[“Weakie” and I somehow made it across the fairway without getting steamrollered by a hurtling 105-pound thinclad.  We wanted to be on the side closest to where the Cards would be starting from.  I popped on the telephoto lens and turned to fire back up toward the starting line – just happened to be the Hasz sisters.]

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[Then came some more Cards.]

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[The team gathered at center ice for last minute instructions from their coach . . . and then alone as a team.  I believe in the latter it’s generally a discussion regarding the Blizzard of the Day.]

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[As the final countdown begins, stretching is the order of the day.  As the fans huddle together in their parkas, the athletes are garbed in mid-summer shorts and t-shirts.]

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[I didn’t feel like changing lenses (I couldn’t feel my fingers), so I couldn’t get the entire field in a single photo.]

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[Check your watches so you can monitor your pace.]

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[And they’re off!  The Cards had a good position in Lane 7 as the course would narrow on their side.  Although this is a distance race, the beginning is almost a full-out sprint as the runners try to get out front as the 25 “lanes” eventually shrink down to one or two.  Megan and Bethany always run from the front.]

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[The meet was to feature the top 3 runners in the state, the Hasz sisters and Jenna Trudeson from Bemidji.  Trudeson decided not to run, so the next top ten runner in the field was from Chanhassen.  Early on you could see those runners starting to separate from the field.  The ultimate 3rd place finisher for team Alex, Allison O’Kane (I believe immediately above) held that position pretty much from the start as well.]

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[And then they were gone . . . and the course went to the dogs.]

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[“Weakie” and I ambled to the next vantage point.  In our defense, we did do our 3-mile walk earlier in the morning and were lucky to still be ambulatory.]

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[Chanhassen still in pursuit, with Red Wing still in the picture.]

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[Back to the other side again, here they come through Corky Krogstad’s alley.]

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[They’re getting a little more separation now.]

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[The Alex pack – they amazingly stuck together through most of the race.  I hope I can identify them at the finish.]

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[They were pretty much in the middle of the field.]

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[And on a new leg – this is where we came in (why yes, that is beautiful Lake Darling in the background).  Now we knew we were in trouble – it was a long wheeze to the finish line, and we didn’t think we would get there in time . . . ]

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[And we were right, we were too late, but . . . ]

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[We could catch the rest of the Card team – here’s Allison finishing 3rd on the team.]

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[And now I’m really guessing – please correct me if I’m wrong – but I believe I missed  Megan Shulstad in 4th and I think this is Callie Richardson in 5th?]

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[Jeanna Miller in 6th.]

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[And Kristin Trisvig.  And congrats to all – I get tired driving a 4k!]

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[Belatedly, the finish line.]

10-4-14-69 - Copy[We tried to find the winners, but no luck.]

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[We decided we weren’t likely to make it back to the start to see the boys race begin.  So, we just sat at the finish line to at least see them come in.]

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[A Stillwater Pony came in 1st place.  They also won the team event.  Year in and year out shooting for state championship.  They have enormous participation for both boys and girls.]

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[The Cards Aaron Runge finished 4th individually . . . and the team finished 4th overall.]

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[Shooting from the hip, Colton Sailor was the 2nd Card to finish . . .]

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[John Kumarowicz was 3rd . . .]

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[Brandon Jerde 4th . . .]

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[Jesse Groettum 5th . . . ]

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[And Eric Branch 6th . . . I hope that’s right?  They’re all seniors.]

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[Bob Cunniff, Voice of the Cardinals No. 2, was master of ceremonies.  He had just returned, at 2:00 am, from the Cardinal football game at Grand Rapids the night before . . .]

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[Speaking of which, the Cards won the football game 56-6, in somewhat inclement weather.  Photos on lend-lease from the Stark Facebook page.]

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[Meanwhile, back at the cross-country awards ceremony, the participants group together for warmth like walruses.]

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[Jerry Hansen of the Lions assists the emcee for trophy presentations.]

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[This is where short-term memory loss is an issue.  I believe her name was Beth Miller (?) and she won the junior high (?) division for the Cardinals.]

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[The sisters Hasz]

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[And then we were done.  Missed the boys’ ceremonies because we could no longer feel our fingers, toes, and heads.]

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[To be fair, it is Minnesota, and we did find some locals enjoying the weather on our way out.]

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[Immediately after the meet, the super and I headed post haste to the winery to be warmed by Patchouli and red wine.  The latter is not condoned for those under age or addicted to Hostess cup cakes.  This was Julie and Bruce’s final performance in Minnesota this year as they now begin performing their way south to their ultimate winter destination in Florida.]

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[We were joined at the winery by fellow Patchouli groupies, Deb and Paul Trumm.  Still not sufficiently warmed, the super and I proceeded to SAWA for an evening with the Salty Dogs.]

I got up one morning, couldn’t find my socks, so I called Information. She said, “Hello, Information.” I said, “I can’t find my socks.” She said, “They’re behind the couch.” And they were!  ~  Steven Wright

Up next:  Something that hasn’t happened yet.

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