Hatten: Sauk Rapids' Sunstrom shines with area help

Hatten: Sauk Rapids' Sunstrom shines with area help

News

Hatten: Sauk Rapids' Sunstrom shines with area help

By

There are some tough stories about high school students and some of the dark sides of social media or texting.

Well, here’s a positive one.

Sauk Rapids senior Samantha Sunstrom wanted to mix up her summer workouts to prepare for this fall’s cross country season.

Sunstrom said that over the summer, she ran a 5K with St. Cloud Cathedral’s Paige Danielson and had workouts with St. Cloud Christian School’s McKenzie Holt and Cathedral Greta Danielson among others.

“I had a lot of different people to run with from my team and other teams,” she said of people she got in contact with via Facebook or text message.

And if other runners were not available, she turned to her sister, Paige, a soccer player, to go with.

“I don’t like running by myself, so I will have my sister bike with me once in a while,” Sunstrom said. “It makes the miles go so much faster if you have someone with you.”

Sunstrom says her goal is to break 15 minutes on a 4,000-meter cross country course this fall and to make the state meet.

She ran a 15:32 on Monday, which she was happy with considering the hot conditions and being the first race of the season.

The VA course is often considered a bit short of 4,000 meters. But to put Sunstrom’s time goal in mind, consider that the top 27 runners (out of 158) in last fall’s Class 2A state cross country meet ran that race in under 15 minutes.

CHS teams start strong

The Cathedral boys and girls cross country teams both had strong starts to their seasons Monday, leaving boys coach Fred Rupp and girls coach Kelly Haws pleased.

The Crusaders boys team took second to Wayzata, a perennial powerhouse Class 2A school, in the 11-team competition.

“I’m really excited,” said Rupp, whose team is the defending Class A state champion. “These boys put in very disciplined work this summer, starting back in the first week of June. They didn’t just put in miles; they put in quality miles with a very deliberate training program.

“I’m not surprised they did well. I am surprised that they did this well.”

The Crusaders are led by junior Nick Golebiowski, who took second on Monday. Golebiowski took eighth in last fall’s state cross country meet and then took third in the 1,600 and fifth in the 3,200 at the state track meet last spring.

He has a strong returning supporting cast led by senior Cole Wintheiser, senior Beau Gerding, senior Noah Ebel and sophomore Eli Stark-Haws.

Rupp is beginning his 40th season, but said his job feels easy.

“With the elite runners that we have, we’re training different than we would if we had kids that hadn’t trained all summer,” said Rupp, who has 80 boys out for the team.

“The seniors direct the show and I work for my seniors. They set up the summer program and dictate how it works. So it’s a new adventure every year.”

The Cathedral girls took second in a tight battle for the top three spots Monday with Class 2A schools Coon Rapids and Elk River.

The Crusaders did that despite competing without their top runner, Elena Danielson, who is close to returning to the lineup from injury.

“I was really pleased,” Haws said of her team. “They’re defending (Class A) state champions and they want to make sure they’re defending that well and put a lot of miles in in the summer.”

Cathedral was led by sophomore Rachel Eickhoff, who won the race.

Eickhoff is ranked 12th in the state, but finished 12 seconds ahead of Andover junior Madeline McKeefry.

McKeefry finished last year’s state cross country meet eight seconds faster than Eickhoff last fall.

Paige Danielson, a sophomore, junior Morgan Durbin and junior Brigid Brew return after being in the top five for the Crusaders at last year’s state meet.

“We want to be the best team in the state of Minnesota, not just in Class A,” Paige Danielson said.

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports