Three team champions return to defend 2014 titles;

( -- Three team champions return this Saturday, Nov. 7, when the Minnesota State High School League’s 2015 State Girls’ and Boys’ Cross Country Running Meet is conducted at St. Olaf College in Northfield. The Mora boys (Class A) and the Trinity School at River Ridge girls (Class A) are both in the hunt for their second consecutive titles. The girls of Wayzata (Class AA) are looking for their fourth consecutive championship.

Senior Megan Hasz of Alexandria is the only returning individual champion. She earned top honors in Class AA last year. Megan Hasz will square off against her twin sister, Bethany, who claimed individual honors in 2013 and placed second in 2014.

This is the first year that both the boys and girls will run a 5,000-meter course. Until this year, the girls ran 4,000 meters.

 Class A Boys Highlights

The Mustangs of Mora return as the defending champions. They have seven runners with previous state meet experience. Five other teams also return from last year’s field: La Crescent, Lake City, Glencoe-Silver Lake, Minnehaha Academy, and Perham. Minnehaha Academy includes students from Hope Academy in Minneapolis.

The other teams qualified this year are Jordan, Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd, Redwood Valley of Redwood Falls, Trinity School at River Ridge of Eagan, Annandale, West Central Area of Barrett, Ottertail Central, Ely, Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin, and Pequot Lakes. Ottertail Central is a co-op between Henning, Battle Lake, and Underwood.

Senior Connor Schank of Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted is the highest returning individual medal-winner; he placed fourth in last year. Junior Zach Emery of La Crescent is the only other Top 10 finisher returning from the 2014 field. He is looking to improve on his seventh-place showing.

Schank was ranked No. 1 in the final coaches’ poll followed by Emery at No. 2.

Class A Girls Highlights

Five of last year’s 16 teams are back, including the defending champions from Trinity School at River Ridge of Eagan. The Tri Hawks return with five runners from last year’s roster. Other teams that are returning are Fairmont, Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd, Annandale and Perham. The other qualified teams are Lanesboro/Fillmore Central, Lake City, Martin County West of Sherburn, Luverne, The Blake School of Minneapolis, Pine City, Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta, Eden Valley-Watkins/Kimball Area, Proctor, Ely, and United North Central. United North Central is a co-op between Sebeka and Menahga.

Junior Madi Schandelmeier of Luverne, who earned runner-up honors last year, is the highest returning Top 10 finisher. She was also ranked No. 5 in the final coaches’ poll.

Three additional Top 10 finishers also return: junior Anna Donnay of Eden Valley-Watkins/Kimball Area, third; sophomore Beth Stevermer of United South Central of Wells, seventh; and senior Elizabeth Schlafke of Annandale, ninth.

Donnay was No. 2 in the final rankings from the state coaches’ association.

Class AA Boys Highlights

A new team champion will emerge this year as the two-time defending champions from Wayzata failed to qualify this year. Hopkins is the highest returning qualifier. They Royals placed second last year and have six runners with previous state meet experience. Other teams returning from last year’s meet are Rochester Century, Shakopee, Prior Lake Rosemount, Stillwater Area, White Bear Lake Area, Centennial of Circle Pines, Elk River, and Bemidji. The other teams in the field are Lakeville North, Chanhassen, Mounds View, Minneapolis Washburn, Duluth East, and Willmar.

The final rankings from the state coaches’ association for the qualified teams are: 1. Hopkins; 2. Minneapolis Washburn; 5. Stillwater Area; 6. Centennial; 7. Mounds View; 8. Bemidji; 9. Rochester Century; 10. White Bear Lake Area; 11. White Bear Lake Area; tie for 12. Lakeville North; and tie for 12.Elk River.

Senior Jaret Carpenter of Wayzata is the only Top 10 finisher returning from the 2014 field. He placed seventh last year and was ranked No. 1 in this year’s final coaches’ poll.

Class AA Girls Highlights

The three-time defending champions from Wayzata lead a field of 10 returning teams. The Trojans return with five members of last year’s team.

The other returning teams are Marshall, Eastview of Apple Valley, East Ridge of Woodbury, White Bear Lake Area, St. Michael-Albertville, Edina, Forest Lake, Duluth East, and Willmar. Red Wing, Farmington, Shakopee, Roseville Area, Anoka, and Alexandria round out the Class AA field.

Defending champion, senior Megan Hasz of Alexandria, leads the field of six returning Top 10 finishers. The others are: senior Bethany Hasz of Alexandria, runner-up; junior Tess Misgen of Shakopee, third; senior Emma Benner of Forest Lake, fourth; junior Annika Lerdall of Wayzata, eighth; and ninth-grader Jasmyn Armstrong of Red Wing, 10th. Bethany Hasz claimed top individual honors in 2013.

The Schedule

The Class AA girls’ race will start at 10 a.m., followed by the Class AA boys’ race at 11 a.m. The Class A girls’ race will start at 1 p.m., followed by the Class A boys’ race at 2 p.m. A combined awards ceremony will take place approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the girls’ race in each class.

State Meet Parking

Spectator parking is available at four remote parking lots at the southeast end of St. Olaf campus. Large red signs will direct spectators to these lots. Shuttle service to and from campus will be provided from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The pick-up and drop-off points will be posted with large red “Bus Stop” signs.

Meet results will be posted on the League’s Web site. The League’s Web site address is