There is the likelihood the Mille Lacs Raiders girls cross-country program will not be fielding a complete team on varsity, junior varsity or junior high this season, but they mostly will be featuring some of the area’s top individuals in the sport.
Two Raider runners who turned in outstanding performances in the opening meet of the 2021 campaign, the Milaca Early Bird Meet on Aug. 30, were Isle 7th-grader Abby Skogen and Onamia senior Molly Saboo.
The girls varsity field featured nine schools and 45 runners. Saboo took the lead at the mile-marker and never looked back, placing first with a personal best time on the Milaca course of 20:58 and finishing 30 seconds ahead of second place.
“Molly looked strong as ever, and from the second mile on she just kept pulling away from a very good runner from Hinckley/Finlayson, a girl who had beaten her in the finals of the Great River Conference championship last season” said Raiders coach Jeff Walz.
The other big positive of the meet for Mille Lacs was the race turned in by Skogen. Running in her very first cross-country meet, she finished sixth among the 35 runners in her field.
Speaking of his up-and-coming star, Walz said, “Abby went out a little too fast, but recovered nicely for a top-10 finish. And how can you not be impressed, since it was her first competitive race.”