Raiders CC

Shows the course 

Jeff Walz, in his 18th year as head coach of the Mille Lacs Raiders cross-country program, went over strategy with his lone varsity runner, Molly Saboo prior to the opening meet back in August. 

On Tuesday, Oct. 19, three junior high and one varsity members of the Mille Lacs Raiders cross-country team competed in the Great River Conference Championships staged at Grand National Golf Course in Hinckley.

With only six GRC teams competing, this was one of the smallest fields the Raiders had competed in all season. “We had high expectations going into this meet, since we had done well on this course earlier this year,” said Mille Lacs coach Jeff Walz.

The junior high runners did not disappoint, when 7th-grader Abby Skogen and 8th-grader Liz Schleis finished 1-2 among the 16 JH runners, with times that were over a minute faster than the 3rd-place finisher. Also, Sarah Litz finished 11th, just one place out of medaling.

In the varsity race it seemed as though nothing could stop Onamia senior Molly Saboo from a GRC championship, since she had beaten all other conference runners in the field many times this season, none of whom ever finished within 20 seconds of her. At the 2-mile mark, however, disaster happened when, with a sizable lead, the hip injury that plagued her near the end of last season re-emerged, and, in pain she gutted out the race, but slipped back to finish fourth. Saboo did receive All-Conference honors for the fourth time in her fine career. 

Speaking about his star runner, Walz said, “I felt terrible for Molly after the race. All I could picture in my mind was the hard work and training Molly had gone through to get here, then to have this injury come back during this important race was very unfair.” 

If Saboo heals quickly, she is scheduled to compete in the Section 5A meet scheduled for Oct. 28 at Pierz Golf Course with a chance to qualify for the state tournament.

Hinckley/Finlayson won the girls team GRC Championship with a 22:27 average time.

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