Pushing into the season, the Princeton cross country team jogged into the year with their first regulation races as the Tigers hosted the Princeton Invitational on Sept. 2 at Fairway Shores Golf Course in Zimmerman.
After last year, with nearly all of the races only featuring a max of three teams racing due to COVID-19 restrictions, the invitational marked the first time since 2019 a regular season meet could feature more than three teams for the Tigers.
Being able to get back to the old format was a good change said Princeton Head Coach Tom Ostroot. “It was nice to get back into larger meets in 2021 as compared to last year when we could only have 3 teams at each meet; we had 10 teams come to the Princeton Invitational.”
With the normal amount of teams fielded, the Tigers placed seventh for boys and sixth for girls, respectively. Winning the meet for boys was Heritage Christian Academy while the girls’ team from Spectrum secured the title.
Though not placing where the Tigers had hoped going into the meet, the younger Princeton squad will look to used what it learned from it first action of the season going forward according to Ostroot. “Overall as a team, we didn’t fare as well as maybe we were hoping to, but with young teams we were able to take a lot away from this meet,” said Ostroot, adding that getting more miles in for the team and better execution of race strategy will be key going forward.
Even with the younger squad of racers for Princeton, there were some strong stand out performances on both sides of the teams. “Princeton had some very nice individual performances, with at least one athlete in the top 15 in every race,” said Ostroot.
For the girls, Tigers’ Julia Daubner was able to secure a top-10 finish in the meet, grabbing fifth with her race of 21:23. Princeton’s Emily Lindgren was the next finisher for the team, coming in 20 at a race of 23:33.
The Princeton boys’ team was paced by Adam Schreder, who came in 15th by running a 18:45 followed close behind by Owen Haubenschild, at 20th and a time of 19:02.
Winning the races at the Princeton Invitational was Hailee Zimpel from Zimmerman blazing to a 19:14 while the boys’ race was won by Heritage Christian’s Kees Van Oosbree, as he sprinted to a 17:16.
With the first meet in the books for the Tigers, they now will travel to Monticello for the Magic’s Invitational.
Having the Monticello Invitational up next for Princeton, the team eagerly awaits to seeing what they can do against the field. “We are looking forward to the Monticello Invitational. We know there will be some very strong teams there, but it will be an opportunity for our teams to improve,” said Ostroot.
The Tigers traveled to Bertram Regional Park for the Monticello Invitational on Sept. 11 to find out where they stand.