Area cross-country teams have started the process of putting their lineups together for the coming season. And in some cases, those lineups have been “partial” lineups as younger runners slowly become accustomed to competing against older opponents.
Cambridge-Isanti hosted its invitational meet at Isanti Middle School on Friday, Sept. 10, and in the girls race, the Bluejackets had only three runners in the varsity race.
Eighth grader MaKenna Sjoberg led the varsity by placing 12th with a time of 22:40.4, while senior Lauren Swanson placed 16th (23:35.5) and junior Kendyl Izzo was next (23:39.5).
“We let a bunch of girls who will eventually run varsity instead run in the middle school race,” C-I coach Josh Bowman said. “In this race, they got to be middle schoolers. By the end of the year, we hope that they have become varsity runners.”
It is worth noting that Cambridge-Isanti seventh grader Molly Larson won the middle school race with a 2-mile time of 14:12.4.
In the boys race, the Bluejackets finished third with 83 points. A strong Centennial squad edged Duluth East 24-35 to win the team title.
Senior Zander Gallmeier led the C-I boys, finishing 13th on the 5-kilometer course with a time of 19:10.6, while sophomore Cal Droubie placed 15th with a 19:14.2 clocking. Eighth grader Hunter Jacobson placed 17th with a time of 19:22.8, while sophomore Jonas Kennedy was next with a 19:29.4 time.
“We’ve got a whole season to get where we want to be,” Bowman said. “We’re not going to get there in the next week, or the week after that, but hopefully in four or five weeks we’ll be sitting pretty.”
North Branch, Braham and Rush City all competed at the Pine City Invitational on Thursday, Sept. 9.
On the boys side, North Branch finished eighth with 190 points, while Rush City took ninth with 199. Foley nipped Chisago Lakes 58-60 to win the team title.
Individually, Rush City senior Joey Papke was the top local finisher, placing 21st with a time 19:47, while North Branch senior Zach Johnson was 26th with a 20:14 clocking.
In the girls race, none of the local teams were able to field a full squad in a contest Spectrum won with 32 points.
North Branch senior Cora Hudella finished 21st with a time of 23:47, while Braham freshman Ava Johnson was 37th with a 25:24 clocking. Senior Shelby Holmstrom was the top runner for Rush City, placing 45th with a time of 26:19.
The Cambridge Christian soccer team opened the week with a 2-1 home victory over Metro United on Tuesday, Sept. 7. Reece Bourke and Michael Newton each scored a goal for the Warriors, while goalkeeper Tate Nowacki made 17 saves to preserve the win.
The Warriors then suffered an 8-0 loss at Fourth Baptist on Thursday, Sept. 9, but rebounded to play well in a narrow 3-2 loss to Woodcrest the following afternoon.
J.J. Sedlar scored both goals for Cambridge Christian against Woodcrest, while Tate Nowacki stopped 23 shots to keep his team in the match.
The North Branch girls soccer team remained unbeaten thanks to a pair of victories last week, including a 5-0 home win over Cambridge-Isanti on Thursday, Sept. 9.
Sophomore Ava Gerten scored two of the Viking goals in that victory, with sophomore Danna Garcia Velazquez, eighth grader Sharleen Garcia Velazquez and sophomore Payton Verdon notching the other goals.
Eighth grader Sharis Garcia Velazquez made two saves to collect the clean sheet in that victory.
Two days earlier, the Vikings claimed a 2-1 victory at Forest Lake behind goals by Gerten and senior Emmie Meyer. Sharis Garcia Velazquez made four saves in that win.
“One thing our girls have done really, really well is that, no matter if the game is going for us or against us, they push through it,” coach Josh Kopp said. “The girls started to develop that habit last season, and they’ve carried it into this season.”
Cambridge-Isanti put together a strong week that began with a 7-0 victory over North Branch on the Vikings’ home court on Tuesday, Sept. 7.
Senior Chloe Hajek got the Bluejackets rolling with a 6-4, 6-1 win over senior Rachel Wurdemann, while junior Ava Lowman defeated senior Justin Joyal at second singles. Senior Natalie Randall knocked off senior Hailey Bistodeau at third singles, while eighth grader Evie Porta beat senior Nora Toussaint at fourth singles.
In doubles, C-I seniors Maddie Lawrence and Maddie Troolin won at first doubles, sophomore Erin Baker teamed with senior Keziah Bulabon to win second doubles, and junior Leslie Bleess paired with sophomore Isabelle Sullivan to win third doubles.
Cambridge-Isanti followed that win with a 7-0 sweep at Monticello two days later. The Bluejackets won in straight sets in all four singles flights, losing just seven games, while only one of the three doubles matches reached a third set.
C-I capped the weekend with wins over Blaine, Andover and Forest Lake in a tournament hosted by Blaine on Saturday, Sept. 11.
“This was a great week on the courts for Bluejacket tennis,” coach Thea Lowman said. “We earned two conference match wins, and we earned three section match wins that will help us when section seedings are set.”
North Branch lost its first set against St. Francis on Thursday, Sept. 9, but rebounded nicely to claim a 22-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-0 victory.
Senior Lindsey Bunes led the offense with 14 kills and added 12 digs. The Vikings finished with 10 service aces in that match, with junior Leah Kent leading the way with four.
North Branch then hosted its annual invitation on Saturday, Sept. 11. In pool play the Vikings beat St. Francis 25-12, 25-14, then lost to Proctor 25-21, 22-25, 12-15 before rebounding to beat Carlton 25-10, 25-9.
In the third-place match, North Branch beat Esko 25-20, 21-15, 15-8. Roseville won the title by defeating Proctor 25-21, 25-22.
Bunes played well for the Vikings in the tournament, leading the team with 38 kills with adding 27 digs. Senior Paige Peaslee was next with 25 kills, while senior Maddie Helin had 72 assists.
Cambridge-Isanti won its only match last week, sweeping Anoka in three sets by scores of 25-17, 25-12, 25-21 on Tuesday, Sept. 7.
Braham claimed its first win of the season, knocking off Milaca in five sets on Tuesday, Sept. 7. Juniors Julia Kuhnke and Ashlynn Giffrow led the offense with 11 and 10 kills, respectively; senior Lacy Cuda had 23 digs, while Giffrow finished with 20 and Kuhnke had 17.
Rush City won twice last week, starting with a 25-21, 25-19, 25-7 non-conference win over Becker on Tuesday, Sept. 7. Senior Emma Kirby finished with 10 kills and had seven service aces, while sophomore Cora Sayotovich added five aces while running the offense with 27 assists from her setter’s position.
Two nights later the Tigers opened Great River Conference play with a 25-13, 25-9, 25-9 stomping of East Central. Kirby led the way with 11 kills while senior Lexi Ertz added 10 on offense, while freshman libero McKenna Garr collected 13 digs to lead the defense.