Redemption is too sweet. A year ago was Luke O’Hare’s first year running cross country. He was in position at the Section 1A Meet to make state. But going hard for 5000 meters is taxing, particularly for a young newcomer to the sport. O’Hare didn’t finish. But make no bones about it. He has running in his blood. Older brother Austin was a state participant, a collegiate runner. Sister Bailey was All-Conference. And Luke has transformed a bunch physically, from a gawky freshman to longer and stronger sophomore. And he can boast something that few can: the Section 1A individual C-C title. In the last three hundred or so meters, beyond where he faltered last year, O’Hare pulled away. Around the last corner, down the home stretch, he sprinted to a finish. With a personal best of 17:01.8, and somehow devoid warm garments from earlier in the race, O’Hare was the first to cross the finish line at the Rochester Northern Hills Country Club course. He bested nearest foes Samson Hagen (PEM > 17:07.7), Alex Lawrence (Stewartville > 17:08.9), Axel Daood (St. Charles > 17:12.4), and Austin Dawley (PEM > 17:13.3). He wasn’t the only LARP runner punching a trip to Northfield. Aidan Ellinghuysen was less the 30 seconds back (17:29.8). The senior finished tenth. With PEM (53) taking the team title and Lake City (82) second (earning trips to state), Ellinghuysen was the sixth individual (of eight) to clinch an individual state berth. He took 31st last year (18:14.8). Matt Kingsbury’s LARP team took a more than respectable fourth (131), behind La Crescent (102), ahead of Stewartville (143), in a 22-team field. Ricky Buchanon (38th), Mitchell Ledebuhr (40th), and Tyler Rislov (45th) finished top 50 (152-man field). Chatfield 8th grader Treyton Lanning (43rd) also pulled off the top 50 distinction. The Gophers finished 11th, LFC 19th, and Kingsland 20th. On the girls’ side, LFC’s Kaylee Arndt was looking for another trip to state. In only her second race this year, with an ailing hip, the sophomore fell short. She took 23rd overall (21:08.8), back a bit from last year’s state pace (20:33.5). With Cotter taking first and Lake City second, Arndt was the 15th individual finisher (top eight not from state teams qualify). The top Journal covered finisher was Chatfield’s Aletta Strande (20:24.6). The Gopher 8th grader took 15th overall and was three spots, eight seconds, from qualifying for Northfield. She ran 22:38.5 last year. LARP runners Ellie Ekern (7th grader), Hannah Linder (sophomore), and Lauren Honken (7th grader) went 37, 38, 39. Gophers Beatrice Martin (41st) and Abbi Gillespie (48th), LFC’s Brielle Ruen (49th), also finished top 50 (136-girl field). Grace (17:49.9) and Lauren (18:09.8) Ping repeated 1-2. Chatfield took 9th, LFC 10th, LARP 13th, and Kingsland 19th (20 complete teams).
About Paul Trende