A year after making a statement by winning the Swain Cross-Country Invitational at Enger Park in Duluth, the North Shore Storm boys team finished fourth and the girls team finished second in the Class A races Wednesday, Oct. 3.
In 2017, Swain marked a turning point for the Storm when the boys won the event and used the victory as a springboard to their first Section 7A title and the team's first berth at the Minnesota State Meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield.
While they didn't repeat as Swain champions, the boys did finish first at the Polar League meet at Pincushion Mountain in Grand Marais on Wednesday, Oct. 10. The North Shore boys won despite a wind storm lashing the region and making for less than ideal conditions.
Will Surbaugh finished second in 17 minutes, 53 seconds and Isaac Swanson finished three seconds later.
Four of the five scoring North Shore runners finished in less than 18:40. Those same four runners were all at least 16 seconds below 18 minutes at the Swain meet in much better conditions.
Prior to the season, the team's goal was to have all five runners under 18 minutes.
"We've got just a strong pack and they keep getting closer and closer," coach April Wahlstrom said. "Having that pack of four right there in the top really reduces the amount of points that we accumulate."
The girls team was more of a surprise qualifier last year, but has continued to perform well in 2018. That team finished second at the Section 7A meet, but Autumn Smith and Cedar Gordon have continued powered the team to second at Swain and third at the Polar League meet. Smith finished 13th with a time of 20:52 at Swain and Gordon was 25th, 30 seconds later.
"We have a nice nucleus started with Autumn Smith and Cedar Gordon," Wahlstrom said. "Lamar Gordon, Cedar's sister, is our up-and-coming third runner and then Claire LaVigne is a really strong-minded competitor who is consistently either a third or fourth runner."
If Kate Walsberg and Louise Ramberg can continue to perform solid as fifth and sixth runners, the Storm could be headed to state for a second-straight year.
Saturday, Oct. 6
At Enger Park Golf Course
1. Minnehaha Academy, 121; 2. Mora, 133; 3. East Grand Forks, 147; 4. North Shore, 166; 5. Plainview-Elgin-Millville, 173.
10. Isaac Swanson, NS, 17:16.9; 17. Will Surbaugh, NS, 17:32; 18. Noah Smith, 17:33; 23 Brenden Seipke, NS, 17:44; 108. JC Holman, NS, 19:32.
1. Lake City, 163; 2. North Shore, 166; 3. Blake, 176; 4. East Grand Forks, 181; 5. Mora, 183.
13. Autumn Smith, NS, 20:52; 25. Cedar Gordon, NS; 21:22; 28. Lamar Gordon, NS, 21:37; 42. Claire LaVigne, NS, 21:59; 67. Kate Walsberg, NS, 22:43.
Wednesday, Oct. 10
Polar League Meet
At Pincushion Mountain
1. North Shore, 23; 2. Esko, 66; 3. Moose Lake-Willow River/Barnum, 69; 4. Cromwell/Floodwood, 77; 5. Carlton-Wrenshall, 98; 6. South Ridge, 166; 7. McGregor, 202.
1. Wyatt Rauvola, CF, 17:37; 2. Will Surbaugh, NS, 17:53; 3. Issac Swanson, NS, 17:56; 4. Sam Rengo, E, 18:03; 5. Noah Smith, NS, 18:04; 6. Luke Bourgeault, E, 18:35; 7. Brenden Seipke, NS, 18:40; 8. Johnny Danelski, MWB, 18:40; 9. Maverick Koecher MWB, 18:40; 10. Noah Foster, CF, 18:46.
1. South Ridge, 41; 2. Moose Lake-Willow River/Barnum, 44; 3. North Shore, 51; 4. Cromwell-Wright, 92; 5. Esko, 134.
1. Jillian Sajdak, SR, 21:11; 2. Kelli Grandquist, MWB, 21:23; 3. Coriella Sheetz, MWB, 21:30; 4. Autumn Smith NS, 22:11; 5. Taina Koivisto, SR, 22:18; 6. Jaden Ellefson SR, 22:19; 7. Emma Cid, CW, 22:29; 8. Lamar Gordon NS, 22:31; 9. Lilly Petty, MWB, 22:42; 10. Morgan Leveau, MWB, 23:15.