Cross country club takes fourth

By The Mercury

The Manhattan Cross Country Club placed fourth among the best teams in a seven-state region at the Nike Heartland cross country regionals for high school runners Sunday this past weekend in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The squad was comprised of the seven runners who one week earlier won the Class 6A state championship for Manhattan High School, the first for the Indians in 29 years. At the Nike meet Sunday, Manhattan knocked off state championship teams from Nebraska, North Dakota, Wisconsin and South Dakota.

But three teams from Minnesota got the better of Manhattan at the Nike Regionals. Edina won the meet with 106 points, followed by Wayzata at 135 and Stillwater at 204. Manhattan just missed the awards stand with 205 points.

The top two teams in the region advanced to the Nike High School Nationals in Portland, Ore., on Dec. 7.

Chris Melgares was 32nd overall for Manhattan, clocking in at 16:06. He was followed by teammates Jackson Schroeder (46th, 16:15), Jack Keeley (57th, 16:20), Josue Alvarado (84th, 16:35), Michael Melgares (87th, 16:36), Isaiah Koppes (98th, 16:44) and Nick Bandy (153rd, 17:11).

Manhattan also beat the state runner-up teams from Iowa and Nebraska, as well as the state champion from Minnesota’s lower division. Jackson Schroeder was the second-highest finishing freshman in the race.

In the girls’ championship race, Alaina Schroeder placed 29th in a time of 18:37 for 5K, just the second time running the distance this fall. Megan Ochoa was 115th in 19:54, while Molly Bollman (21:48) and Katherine Culbertson (22:04) placed 229th and 239th, respectively.

Manhattan was not able to field a full team in the girls’ championship division.

Also Sunday, the Manhattan Cross Country Club’s freshman/sophomore team placed third, led by Peter Gruenbacher’s fifth-place finish at 17:13. The team scored 114 points behind scores of 52 and 87 by separate teams fielded by Wayzata.

Also scoring for the frosh/soph crew were Sam Morgan (21st, 18:00), Ethan Levin (36th, 18:49), Nolan Blankenau (43rd, 19:06) and Andy Fitch (51st, 19:31).

Lane Richards was 382nd (20:55) in the boys’ open race, and Amber Hayen (24:45) was 229th in the girls’ open race.

In the Community Open race, 13-year-old Cooper Schroeder was 44th overall and second in his age group with a time of 20:09. Susan Melgares was the female master’s champion with a time of 21:40.

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