The Journal 11 cross country programs were again well represented (as a whole) at the 2022 State Cross County Meet in Northfield. All five sent at least one individual to compete. Lewiston-Altura/Rushford-Peterson/Houston’s boys made their fourth straight trip to the state meet behind Coach Matt Kingsbury. For a second straight year, Kingsland sent Garrison Hubka and Cole Kruegel. Chatfield sent Lexi Kivimagi and Aletta Strande, as each took on their second state meet. McKenna Hendrickson represented GMLOS. Isaac Snyder represented Lanesboro/Fillmore Central. In a recurring theme this year, Hubka was the standout.
His high school cross country career is finished. It was a fabulous one. After coming out of nowhere to be a force as a sophomore during the COVID year, Kingsland’s Garrison Hubka was simply been phenomenal. All those miles on the roads and trails were capped this year in his third state meet. Hubka ran a personal best
time (16:29.72). Doing so allowed Garrison to move up a bit from last year. He made the top 10 (and thus All-State) by taking ninth overall. The Knight runner was in a cluster of six kids who all finished between 16:24 and 16:32. Hubka, the 1A Meet champion, was the top finisher from his section. His time was the fastest of any 1A competitor at state since La Crescent/Hokah’s Matt Steiger won a state title in 2017 (15:44.8). Hubka was also outstanding last season, taking 13th place (16:55.32). He was a state qualifier as a sophomore, but there was no state meet per COVID. In the Journal Sports era (since 2011), Hubka isn’t the unquestioned best boys runner. But there is a case to be made that he is tops. Recently graduated LARPH standouts Luke O’Hare and Tyler Rislov are also in contention. All three are multi-time state entrants. Rislov has the highest state place (6th in 2021). Hubka’s 2022 state time is the fastest (16:29.72). Rislov ran 16:38.42 in 2021. O’Hare can brag he’s the only two-time TRC and 1A meet champion of the three. He ran 16:29.9 at state in 2019 (took 17th). Hubka has two top 15 state finishes, but all three guys were robbed of a state meet in 2020.
Hubka’s teammate Cole Kruegel also competed. It was the senior’s second state meet. Kruegel took 74th a year ago in Northfield (17:46.93). He improved greatly, finishing 40th (17:04.33) this year. It was his second-best time of the year behind his Rochester Mayo Invite time (16:53.73). Kruegel ran 17:09.35 in taking third at sections this year. Rounding the Journal 11 individual boy’s runner was LFC’s Isaac Snyder. The junior took 83rd overall (17:33.44). He was a bit back of his Section 1A Meet time (17:17.88). But the 17:33.44 mark was around where Snyder had run at multiple races this year. It was his first state meet. The 2022 meet was won by Sauk Centre’s Brandon Kampsen (15:49.44). He was one of three runners to finish in under 16-minutes alongside Nova Classical Academy’s Henry Kareitz (15:55.55) and Perham’s Bjorn Anderson (15:57.82). Kampsen took third last year, Karelitz second. Anderson moved all the way up from 45th place. One-hundred-sixty runners competed.
Team-wise, LARPH took on its fourth straight state meet. One thing is sure, LARPH is consistent when they get to state. They took 14th of 16 total schools with a score of 321. In LARPH’s previous two competed state meets, they took 15th (2019) and 13th (2021). Heritage Christian Academy (99) put four in the team top-25 to take the championship over Luverne (102). Junior Ryan Prinsen again led LARPH. He improved a lot, taking 63rd (17:16.9). It was his best time of the season. Prinsen took 101st last season (18:04.37). Junior Tyler Betthauser was LARPH’s second runner, as he finished 93rd (17:44.86). It was his best time of the season. LARPH’s other three scoring runners were 8th grader Brennan Kunst (111st > 17:56.9), sophomore Matthew Sprague (129th > 18:23.6), and freshman Aaron Ploetz (140th > 18:47.27). Kunst and Ploetz ran their first state race. Kunst ran under 18:00 for the first time this year. Sprague took 150th last year (19:59.21). Rounding out LARPHs seven runners were junior Sam Adamczyk (142nd > 18:53.4) and freshman Isaac Rasmussen (147th > 19:01.79). Adamczyk ran at state last year taking 137th (18:58.85). And though their finish was similar to years past, this year was a transition after graduating standouts Tyler Rislov and Andrew Hoiness. LARPH had zero seniors of their seven runners.
On the girls side, Chatfield’s Lexi Kivimagi and Aletta Strande each took on their second state meet while GMLOS’ McKenna Hendrickson wrapped up her senior year by running in her first. Strande and Kivimagi finished less than two seconds apart. The senior Strande wrapped up an excellent cross country career by taking 36th overall (20:05.62). It was her fastest time of the year. In 2019, as a freshman, Strande competed in her other state meet. She took 88th (20:32.7). In the Journal Sports era, Strande probably ranks second or third with Karen Gomez-Ruiz (three-time state qualifier) behind Kayla Woltz (six-time state qualifier) as the top Gopher girls C-C runners. Strande finishes as a five-time All-TRC pick and five-time top 20 sections finisher. Kivimagi, just an 8th grader, is probably next in that group. She finished 38th as this year’s state meet (20:07.29). She was two spots behind Strande. She was the sixth highest finisher in her grade. Kivimagi was a little off her 1A meet pace (20:01.84) and back of her best time this season (19:21.67) set at the Mayo Invite. Still, Kivimagi moved up after taking 65th last year a 7th grader (20:53.45). She is the first Gopher gal to qualify for state as a 7th and 8th grader since Woltz (2007/2008). GMLOS’ Hendrickson capped a great season by taking a solid 53rd (20:22.15). It was her second-best time of the season behind the Pine Island Invite (20:12.25). She was a couple seconds faster than her state qualifying time at sections (20:24.5). Hendrickson now owns individual state qualifications in both cross country and track and field. One-hundred-fifty-eight girls competed. Nevis senior Jada Rypkema (17:43.47) topped twins Amanda (17:48.97) and Ashley Overgaauw (18:52.06) of Murray County Central while Cotter’s Sonja Semling (18:53.43) was the top girl’s section 1A runner, taking fourth. Amanda O. took first last year, Rypkema fifth, and Ashley O. sixth. Perham (56) took the 2022 girls crown over St. Cloud Cathedral (78). Perham was state runner-up last year. The 5,000-meter races were run on St Olaf’s Campus in Northfield.