NORTHFIELD -- Maria Hauger turned back the clock Saturday. And she didn’t wait until bedtime like the rest of us. She did it in the middle of the afternoon and turned it all the way back to 1994. That’s when Dawson-Boyd’s Carrie Tollefson became the only athlete in Minnesota history to win five cross-country state championships.
Hauger won the Class 2A state title for the fourth year in a row Saturday at St. Olaf College. She joined Tollefson – who went on to become an NCAA cross-country and track champion at Villanova University and run the 1,500 meters at the 2004 Olympics – as the only four-time champions. Tollefson won three Class 1A titles and two in Class 2A between 1990 and 1994. (Hauger and Tollefson are pictured here in a photo from earlier this season.)
Haugen’s other goal in her final high school race in Minnesota was to set a girls course record. And she did that, too, finishing in 13 minutes, 42 seconds. That shattered the record of 13:54.7 set in 2005 by Bria Wetsch of Holy Family.
The second-place finisher was Anna French, a sophomore from Wayzata. Placing third was Alexandria ninth-grader Bethany Hasz, followed by Eagan senior Danielle Anderson and Bemidji sophomore Jenna Truedson.
Any time anyone mentions to Hauger that she is in the same hemisphere as Tollefson, she brushes the comparisons aside: “She’s an Olympian, I’m just a high schooler.”
Hauger says that another athlete she also looks up to is swimmer Michael Phelps, “even though he’s not a runner. He’s just amazing.”
That word fits Hauger pretty well, too. Her running career began when she was in seventh grade and she broke the Shakopee school record in the mile in her very first race. She placed ninth at the state cross-country race in her first appearance, as an eighth-grader, and won every championship race since. The only race in Minnesota she didn’t win in the last four years came earlier this season at the Montgomery Invitational, when Blake junior Clare Flanagan – who captured her second Class 1A title Saturday – reached the finish line 18 seconds ahead of Hauger.
Hauger responded with a dominating victory at the Roy Griak Invitational two weeks later, and put a gold-medal cherry on her prep cross-country career Saturday.
“I’m pretty exhausted,” she said after the race. “Probably the most exhausting race, though, was the Griak. I felt like I was going to pass out. This one was good.”
She said her list of possible colleges has been narrowed to five. She wouldn’t name them, other than saying that the University of Minnesota is among the five.
CLASS 2A BOYS
Wayde Hall of Stillwater captured the title with a four-second margin of victory over runner-up Obsa Ali of Richfield. Third place went to Joe Klecker of Hopkins, followed by Will Burke of Edina and Connor Olson of Wayzata. Hall placed seventh last year at state.
The 2A boys team title went to top-ranked Stillwater. The Ponies had a score of 46, followed by Edina (80), Wayzata (90), Owatonna (125) and Rosemount (152).
CLASS 1A BOYS
The rankings held true to form as Proctor senior Matt Welch (pictured), the No. 1 runner in the 1A coaches poll, won his first state title after finishing 14th, 13th and 61st in the previous three years. The runner-up was Foley senior Charlie Lawrence, who is ranked second. Lawrence placed third a year ago. Shane Streich of Waseca, who finished fifth a year ago, placed third this year.
Perham cruised to the 1A boys team title with a score of 37 points. St. Cloud Cathedral was second with 72, followed by Waseca (164) and Martin County West and Winona Cotter, both with 200. Perham was third in 2009, first in 2010 and second last year.
CLASS 1A GIRLS
Blake junior Clare Flanagan easily won her second consecutive state title, finishing 12 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. The runner-up was Cannon Falls’ Emi Trost, followed by McKenzie Holt of St. Cloud Christian, Emily Mantor of United South Central and Marisa Shady of Esko.
Esko, which had been a top five team for the last three years, broke through to win the team crown. The Eskomos had 115 points, followed by Annandale (150), Minnehaha Academy (151), Waseca (157) and Dover-Eyota (184). Esko was eighth in 2009, fifth in 2010 and third last year.
--Photo galleries from state cross-country are posted on the MSHSL Facebook page.
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 288
*Miles John has driven: 3,819
(*During the 2012-13 school year)
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