Cross country conference title in St. Anthony’s sights

Nick Lawson

With six of its top seven runners back this fall, the St. Anthony Village High School boys cross country team is aiming high. Head coach Travis Macleod feels his team is a serious contender for conference supremacy.

“For the boys team, we hope to be in contention for the Tri-Metro conference top spot and also a top-five spot at the Section 5AA meet,” said Macleod, who is in his eighth year as the boys and girls varsity cross country coach. “Both are lofty goals that will take some improvement, luck and avoiding injuries.”

St. Anthony was fourth in the 2013 Tri-Metro Conference championship meet, and of the top six teams in last year’s meet, St. Anthony is the only one still in the Tri-Metro. Defending conference champion Minnehaha Academy left the conference at the end of the last school year, as did Mounds Park Academy, Blake, St. Paul Academy, Providence Academy and Breck.

Moving into the top five in the section meet requires an improvement of at least four places. The Huskies were ninth in 5AA in 2013.

Among the Huskies returning runners are two who made all-conference and two more who were all-conference honorable mention last season. Senior Nick Lawson has been St. Anthony’s top runner for the past three seasons and that probably won’t change this year. He is looking to break the school’s 5,000-meter record, which is held by his older brother Chris.

Also back this year is senior Cole Grotting, who made all-conference last fall, and all-conference honorable mention runners Marty O’Connell and Nicholas Gulachek, both seniors.

“Strength for the boys is their experience,” said Macleod.†”All of our returning top runners have varsity experience and showed through their summer mileage that they are hungry to succeed this year.”

Devon McCann is an eighth grader looking the crack the varsity lineup after showing serious improvement last season and putting in a good amount of work over the summer.

St. Anthony girls

Roster turnover hit the St. Anthony girls much harder than it did the boys. The girls’ team returns only three of its top seven runners from a squad that finished fourth in the conference and 11th in the section a year ago.

St. Anthony returns one all-conference performer and one all-conference honorable mention runner. Junior Claire Bedore was the Huskies’ second-best runner last year and returns after earning all-conference honors. Another junior, Hanna Arnsten was honorable mention all-conference last year.

“Strength of the girls team is their strong leaders,” said Macleod. “We are fortunate to have veteran runners who are hard workers, positive role models, and great people. They know how to help the program recover from losing a large part of our varsity team.”

The biggest loss from last year was the graduation of Melissa Marsh, who holds the school record for a 4,000-meter cross country race and was a two-time state-meet qualifier.

Two newcomers who could help fill the holes on this year’s roster are freshman Ava Grotting and eighth grader Lily Saddoris.

“Both showed their potential last year as strong runners,” said Macleod.

Improving on last year’s team finishes in the conference and section could be difficult. Macleod set goals of a top-five conference finish and top-10 section finish.

Unlike on the boys’ side, the defending girls conference championship team, Visitation, did not vacate the Tri-Metro Conference and is the early-season favorite.

Season opener

The first meet of the season for both St. Anthony teams is Saturday at Anoka High School. Teams expected to compete alongside the Huskies are Anoka, Breck, DeLaSalle, Fridley, Hill-Murray, Holy Angels, Richfield, Providence Academy and Totino-Grace. Race time is 10 a.m.

Brian Meyers can be reached at

2014 St. Anthony Village High School cross country schedule

Aug. 23    Invitational at Anoka High School        10 a.m.
Aug. 27    Conference meet at Battle Creek Regional Park    4:15 p.m.
Sept. 4    Invitational at Fridley High School        4 p.m.
Sept. 11    Invitational at The Ponds Golf Course        4 p.m.
Sept. 20    Milaca Mega Meet at Stone Creek Golf Course    Time TBA
Sept. 27    Griak Invitational at Bolstad Golf Course        10 a.m.
Oct. 4        Swain Invitational at Enger Park Golf Course    10 a.m.
Oct. 14    Conference meet at Battle Creek Regional Park    4 p.m.
Oct. 23    Section 5AA meet at Anoka High School        3:30 p.m.

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