In a field of 23 teams with 176 runners, finishing in the top 20 is impressive.
Winning? Well that's huge. But that's what River Falls' junior Mason Shea did in the Division 2 varsity boys' race at the Milaca (Minn.) Mega Meet Saturday, Sept. 22.
Shea's first place time of 16 minutes, 31 seconds led the Wildcats to a fourth place team finish in the 23-team field.
That is incredibly impressive at a meet like the Mega Meet," Wildcat coach Kari DeLuca said. "He executed his race perfectly. It was apparent from the gun that he was going to do everything he could to cross that finish line first."
Sophomore Grant Magnuson wasn't far behind Shea, breaking the 17-minute mark for the first time in his career to place 11th in 16:52.6.
Magnuson's classmate, Allison Weissinger, paced the Wildcat girls' with a personal best time of 20:14 to place 16th overall.
"To be in the top 20 at a meet like this as a sophomore, that's huge," DeLuca said about Magnuson and Weissinger. "The future is bright for those two."
Junior Joey Madsen contributed a 29th place tie of 17:26.7 for the boys' and senior Rav Veness was 49th in 17:57.1 while sophomore Brandon Nelson rounded out the Cat's top five in 54th place with a time of 18:00.09.
Grand Forks Red River won the boys' team title with 76 points and Sartell was second with 94 followed by Cloquet with 134 and River Falls with 144.
Weissinger was followed in the girls' race by senior Calla Dexheimer in 38th place in 21:06.4. Freshman Morgan Prigge was 55th in 21:35.3 and senior Elsa Putzier finished 61st in 21:38.5 while junior Meggie Weideman was 66th in 21:48.3.
Waconia won the girls' Division 2 team title with 106 points while River Falls was tenth with 236.
The Milaca Mega Meet is labeled the World's Largest High School Cross Country Meet, featuring over 6,000 runners from 300 different schools. Teams are placed in different classes based on their school size, with River Falls running in Division 2.
"It was an awesome cross country atmosphere," DeLuca said. "I can honestly say it might have been one of my favorite days of cross country coaching. Homecoming week really got us hyped for this meet. The kids showed up competitive, but they were also just enjoying the sport. As a coach, you can't really ask for more."
The Wildcats will be off this week before returning to action at the Eau Claire Memorial Invitational Saturday, Oct. 6.