Girls squad gunning for state spots

“This group has big goals,” said Canby-Minneota Cross Country Coach Allyson Pesek about her 2019 girls cross country squad.

“Our strength is we have most of our girls back. We are also returning both of our state qualifiers: Grace Drietz and McKenzie Ruether,” said the coach. While the experience is there, the weakness is depth. “We have a good group of girls ready to compete, but we need to work on building our numbers at that level so we have a strong section team come October,” she said.

A year ago, Canby-Minneota was close to qualifying four runners for the state meet. “I know those four are determined to be in the state meet come November,” said the coach.

The four are: Drietz, Ruether, Faith Traen and Braelyn Merritt. She said the girls have individual goals, but, “They’d love nothing more than to take the whole team to Northfield for the state meet on Nov. 2.” A year ago, the girls were second in the conference losing to Lac qui Parle Valley by only two points.

Returning runner Grace Drietz was the Camden Conference Champion for the second year in a row. “We also had four other runners finish in the top 12 out of 40 runners.

They were: 5. Merritt; 6. Ruether; 7. Traen; 12. Aidyn Bruns.” In the section, the girls finished third out of 17 teams. Drietz, the team leader, finished third in the second and sixth in the state. She earned a state medal and was an all-state runner. Ruether was 13th in the section and finished 135th out of 174 runners in the state meet.

Canby/Minneota will need help from their younger gals if they are to get a chance to run in the state as a team. Veterans Mackenzie Hemish, Aidyn Bruns and RyAnn Hansen could also make a difference for the team this year. Returning top teams in the area are: Lac qui Parle Valley, Luverne, Murray County Central, Redwood Valley and Pipestone Area.

Grace Drietz

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