Cross-country: Storm boys finish fifth at state
North Shore Storm senior Jake Paron finished 15th at the Class A state meet Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield, leading his team to a fifth-place finish — among the best ever for a team from Cook County or Two Harbors.
Paron's time of 16:32.2 was one of his best 5K times of the season.
Noah Smith finished about 22 seconds later in 32nd spot.
Freshman Isaac Swanson was the Storm's third scoring runner in 87th. Will Surbaugh finished 98th and Brendan Seipke was 113th overall.
Each of the five scoring runners finished in under 18 minutes — remarkable consistency for the team and the average time was 17:18, just five seconds behind second-place St. James Area and 13 seconds behind state champion Perham.
"Anytime you have five runners come finishing under 18 minutes, you know you're going to be competitive," coach Dan Hebl said.
Despite losing Paron next year to graduation, all four of the Storm's other scoring runners are freshmen or sophomores, making the future bright for the program.
Swanson in particular was a bright spot for North Shore. The freshman missed training camp and the first part of the season due to a broken toe and had to run himself into shape over the course of the season. Like Swanson, Seipke also showed marked improvement throughout the season and should be a consistent scoring runner for the Storm in 2018.
Smith, in his second-consecutive trip to the state meet, also ran won of his fastest times of the season. Hebl said he was within just a couple seconds of setting a personal record.
Paron improved 18 spots over his performance in 2016 at the state meet, but a side cramp late in the race cost him a few spots. He wasn't able to match his 2015 performance where he finished 10th overall.
Storm girls finish 13th in state
The North Shore girls finished 13th at the state meet Saturday, edging Proctor for the spot and defeating a Rails team that narrowly won the section over the Storm and Greenway-Nashwauk/Keewatin.
Eighth-grader Autumn Smith was the top finisher for North Shore in 58th spot and a time of 20:13. Freshman Cedar Gordon was just three seconds slower in 62nd spot. Claire LaVigne and Louise Ramberg were 123rd and 124th, respectively, and Isabel Shottenbauer was the final Storm scorer in 146th spot.
The Storm girls ended up running in pairs for most of the race, with Schottenbauer running most of the race and sophomore Kate Walsberg keeping pace with Schottenbauer until later.
The North Shore girls are even younger than the boys, with all five scoring runners returning to the team in 2018, making them an early contender for a return trip to the state meet.