Prior Lake cross county "champions"

A "champion" jacket is held up after the unofficial state cross county meet by Prior Lake runners (from the left) Gabe Smit, Kyle Nordling, John Meagher, Mckoy Ross, Hootie Hage, Blake Vander Weide and Magnus O’Connor.

There won't be an official 2020 boys cross country state champion honored by the Minnesota State High School League.

But Prior Lake would like to consider themselves just that after putting in a winning performance by 20 points over Stillwater at the Twin Cities Running Club Cross Country Showcase on Oct. 30 at Island Pine Golf Club in Atwater.

Prior Lake XC Club had four runners in the top 17 including senior Gabe Smit in a runner-up finish of 15:57.2 in the 5,000-meter race.

Hootie Hage (16:11.3), Kyle Nordling (16:16.2) and Magnus O'Connor (16:19.8) were seventh, 13th and 17th, respectively. Blake Vander Weide (16:50.9) and John Meagher (16:56) were 60th and 70th as well.

Prior Lake was ranked No. 1 in the final poll released by the State Cross Country Coaches Association.

The Lakers were Section 3AA champions on Oct. 15 at Valleywood Golf Course with four runners in the top five. Smit was the first runner across the finish line in 16:02.5.

At the club state event, run in six waves, upfront it ended being a three-man race with Smit matching up with Stillwater seniors Ethan Vargas and Aidan Kilibarda.

Vargas had a stronger kick, a winning time of 15:54.6, ahead of Smit by three seconds. Vargas was 1.4 seconds ahead of Smit, the two runners finishing 10th and 11th at the 2019 state meet.

Vargas and Smit were the only returning runners from the top 18 in 2019.

Prior Lake, also competing among 20 girls teams, was eighth overall with a score of 300. Edina won the rematch with Minnetonka — without its top runner — for the girls club title by a staggering 38 points.

Like the boys, Prior Lake's girls team was coming off a Section 3AA title. Their club performance included three seventh graders and two eighth graders in the five scoring positions.

Isabelle Reinders led the Lakers with a time of 19:19.5 for 43rd place.

Keeley Mohling followed in 19:36.7 with teammates Maggie Hoen (19:47.7) and Sara Gastnoy (20:00) all finishing in 20 minutes or fewer.


Junior Zoie Dundon, 69th as a sophomore for Burnsville, posted a time of 18:57.9 for 29th place. Only Farmington runners Anna and Marish Fenske, and Mackensy Lippold, were ahead of Dundon from the South Suburban Conference.

Shakopee had one qualifier in the boys race in senior Ben Palmieri, who ran a solid time of 16:57.7 for 73rd place. He was 12th in the individual wave. Palmieri did not compete in the 2019 state meet.