The All-Decade Top 18 for cross country. Due to time constraints, coaches weren’t contacted for comment. Rankings are based off team and individual conference, sectional, and state performances (places and times). Said rankings are subject to debate! Any time comparisons and ‘bests’ refer to TRC, Section 1A, and State meets collectively only. They are denoted by (*). Records for TRC meets prior to 2010 weren’t found.
Cross Country Top 18
#1) Kayla Woltz (2007-2012, Chatfield): An easy pick for number one. There is no one on this list who is remotely comparable. Woltz qualified for the state meet in Northfield all six years of varsity. As a seventh grader, she took third at sections. She then went on to win three straight individual section titles (8th thru 10th grades). Woltz was state runner-up in eighth and ninth grades. She was 1A runner-up as a junior (2011) and senior (2012). Sophomore and junior years, she took fifth at state. By taking tenth her senior year, she notched her fifth state top 10 finish. Her best 4000-kilometer time (*) was as an 8th grader at state (14:43.6). Her times in Northfield as a junior (14:57.4) and senior (14:59.8) were also superbly both sub-fifteen-minutes too. Woltz also won at least three TRC meet titles (2010, 2011, 2012). She went on to run some in college at North Dakota State.
#2) Luke O’Hare (2017-present, LARP): The reigning 1A boy’s running champ. The only guy on this list to win a 1A individual title. He’s twice competed at the 1A meet and won both. As a sophomore, O’Hare won the TRC and Section 1A meets to clinch a trip to Northfield. A year later as a junior (2019), O’Hare defended his TRC and 1A meet titles. He finished 41st and 17th at state those two years respectively. His best time (*) was at state in 2019 (16:29.9). It is the second fastest 5000-kilometer time (*) of anyone on this list. Along the way, LARP’s team finished second at the TRC meet in both 2018 and 2019, then second at the 1A meet in 2019, clinching a trip to state. He still has his senior year left to try to improve both his individual and team exploits.
#3) Christian Bance (2011-2014, Chatfield): Started running cross country as a sophomore and was immediately strong. Bance thrice made the state meet. He took 73rd as a sophomore, 17th as a junior, and 27th as a senior. And his senior time (16:42.9) was faster than his junior time (16:48.9). He finished third at the 1A meet twice and had three total top 10 finishes at the event. Bance also won the 2013 TRC meet individual title and was 2014 TRC meet runner-up. He had three top five finishes at that event too. His sophomore TRC meet time (16:36.3) was his fastest (*). He has five of the ten quickest 5000-kilometer times (*) of all the guys on this list.
#4) Kiera Olson (2013-2016, LFC): The most critical piece to LFC’s girls mini-dynasty from 2014-2016. Olson made state twice (junior/senior years) as a member of LFC’s section champ (2015) and section runner-up (2016) state teams. She also qualified individually as a freshman (2013) after taking sixth at sections. At state, she took 66th, 65th, and 31st incrementally. Her best 5000-kilometer time (*) was her last high school run at state (19:55.5). It is the quickest 5-K time of any gal listed (*), the only sub-twenty-minute mark recorded. Olson also won the TRC meet as a senior and took third as a junior. LFC’s girls won the TRC meet both years.
#5) Richard Swanson (2012, Kingsland): A one-hit wonder for the Knights, Swanson (home-schooled) went out for cross country as a sophomore. He promptly took second at the TRC meet (16:14.6), fourth at the Section 1A meet, and then 11th at the state meet (16:15.9). Where Swanson went after his sophomore year in unknown. Whether he ran again is unknown. Of all the guy runners on this list, he had the highest state placing and the two fastest 5-kilometer times (*).
#6) Austin O’Hare (2010-2013, LARP): Luke’s older brother Austin probably helped inspire his younger sibling. O’Hare twice took third at the TRC meet (2011, 2013). He took ninth and fifth respectively those two seasons at the Section 1A meet, qualifying for state. There, he finished 100th and 70th. He missed the 2012 season. His best time (*) was his senior year at sections (17:15.9). O’Hare went on to run at St. Mary’s, both cross country and track and field. Since, he is or has assistant coached multiple sports at Grand Meadow.
#7) Karen Gomez-Ruiz (2009-2014, Chatfield): Following in the footsteps of Woltz, Gomez-Ruiz was a strong runner across her six-year career. She had a pair of top ten section finishes, sixth in 2011, and seventh in 2013, plus two 12th-place finishes in 2010 and 2012. A trio of state qualifications resulted (2011-2013). Her best finish in Northfield was 43rd place as a freshman, where she posted her best (*) 4000-kilometer time, 15:46.8. She took 76th at state as a sophomore and 101st as a junior. She finished top ten at the TRC meet five times including top five freshman thru senior years. She ran ‘big’ 4,000-kilometer races (*) in less than 16:30 eleven times.
#8) Aletta Strande (2017-present, Chatfield): The strongest runner on a solid Gopher gals squad the past two years, Strande flirted with state once then qualified a year later. She took 15th at the 1A meet as an 8th grader in 2018, then ninth this past season as a freshman. It got her to Northfield where she finished 88th. Strande also finished top 10 at the TRC meet both years including third this past season. She has two 5,000-kilometer runs under 20:25 (*), including the 2019 1A meet (20:06.1), which is second best of all the gals on this list.
#9) Kaylee Arndt (2015-present, LFC): The Burros second runner on this list to go to state with a team (twice) and individually (once). As an 8th grader (2016), she finished 14th at sections. LFC as a team qualified for state for a second straight year. A year later (2017), Arndt again took 14th at sections and qualified for state alone. She took 53rd place as a frosh in Northfield with the third fastest 5,000-kilometer time (*) of all the gals listed (20:10.8). Kaylee also finished 23rd at sections as a sophomore, giving her three top 25 placings there. She has three top seven TRC meet finishes and won TRC meet team titles in 2015 and 2016. Injuries hindered her junior year (2019).
#10) Emily Snyder (2013-2018, LFC): Made state twice with the Burros section champion and section runner-up team squads, which also won TRC Meet titles each year. Snyder was especially strong as a freshman (2015), taking second at the TRC meet and fourth at the 1A meet. That 1A finish was highest for all the LFC girls during their great run. A year later (2016), she took fifth at the TRC meet and 25th at sections. She finished top 100 at the state meet her two trips there. A torn ACL caused her to miss her junior year and she wasn’t the same runner as a senior. Snyder’s top 5,000-kilometer time (*) was 20:35.4 (the fourth place section finish).
#11) Leah Ruen (2013-2016, LFC): As a junior and senior, ran at state as a part of LFC’s back-to-back team entrants in 2015 and 2016. Ruen thrice finished top 25 at sections, 16th as a sophomore, 20th as a senior, and 23rd as a junior. She finished fifth and second respectively at the TRC meet in 2015 and 2016. LFC won each team TRC title. Her fastest 5000-kilometer time (*) was 20:38.2 at state her senior year, where she finished 80th.
#12) Dylan Linder (2011-2016, LARP): Spent six years running varsity and finished top 20 at the TRC meet and top 30 at sections freshman through senior years. Linder’s best year was his junior season where he took fifth at the TRC meet and ninth at sections, earning and individual trip to state. He took 69th in Northfield. His best times through all that were his junior year 1A (17:25.5) and state meets (17:28.3).
#13) Alex Paulson (2007-2011, Chatfield): Twice flirted with state, once made it. Paulson took seventh at sections as a sophomore (2009), making it to Northfield where he finished 86th. A year later as a junior, he took fifth at the TRC meet and 12th at sections (missed state). As a senior, he took tenth at the TRC Meet and 12th again at the 1A meet (missed state). All told, he finished top 25 at sections four times (all 5,000-kilometer times under 18:05). His best time (*) was the 2010 TRC meet (17:31.3).
#14) Tyler Rislov (2016-present, LARP): A varsity cross country runner since the 7th grade, Rislov’s fourth year competing (2019) was a breakout. He went from finishing 45th at sections (18:36.4) to taking fifth (17:18.4). It marked the fourth straight year he shaved over a minute off his 1A Meet time. His strong season helped LARP to a 1A meet runner-up team finish, a state berth. Rislov was also a part of back-to-back TRC runner-up LARP squads.
#15) Bailey Ruen (2014-2017, LFC): The fifth LFC runner to make this list from their back-to-back state teams, Ruen took third at the TRC meet as a junior and fourth as a sophomore. Each year, her team won the TRC team title. She took 16th at sections as a sophomore, her highest finish there, and 32nd as a junior. Her best time (*) was 20:59.8 (the fourth place finish at the 2015 TRC meet).
#16) Aidan Ellinghuysen (2016-2018, LARP): A solid runner his sophomore (25th place at TRC, 39th place at 1A) and junior years (18th place at TRC, 31st place at 1A), Ellinghuysen took tenth at sections as a senior, qualifying for state. He took 97th there. His best time (*) was at the state meet (17:26.6). He also took 6th at the TRC Meet as a senior, marking the third straight year where he improved at least seven places.
#17) Maddie Smith (2014-2016, LFC): A sixth runner from LFC’s mid-decade dynasty, Smith had three top 30 finishes at sections (without competing as a junior and senior). Her best was 22nd as an 8th grader. She also took sixth at the TRC meet as a freshman. Competed on LFC teams that won two TRC Meet titles, a section title, and made two state trips.
#18) Ryan Ruberg (2010-2013, LARP): From the same class as Austin O’Hare, Ruberg three times finished top 10 at the TRC Meet (2011-2013) and twice finished top 20 at the 1A meet. He took 18th as a junior and 20th as a senior. His best time (*) was 17:10.6 (junior year TRC meet). He’s the only guy on this list to finish top 20 at sections twice but not make state.
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