With just two 5K races under her belt, no one was looking for Superior’s Tayler McMeekin to win the Conway Classic Sept. 9 at Nemadji Golf Course in Superior.

The Spartan freshman jumped out to an early lead and won the race in 20 minutes, 18.9 seconds, nearly 23 seconds ahead of second-place Adeline Bauer of Ashland.

“When I started I was just going to stay with the girl that was up front and try to kick to the finish,” McMeekin said. “But then it was just not my speed so I went ahead of her and then I just kept the pace I was comfortable with.”

McMeekin said she just started running last year at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and came out for cross-country this fall. She ran her first race in Ashland a few weeks ago and finished second overall.

McMeekin set a new personal best of 19:58.2 and finished eighth overall at the Rice Lake Invitational Tuesday, Sept. 14. Rice Lake is one of the only regular season meets where Spartan runners will compete against teams they will see at the sectional meet later this fall.

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McMeekin doesn’t “race like a freshman,” according to Spartans’ coach Lee Sims.

“Tayler’s confident, but not overconfident,” Sims said. “She doesn’t go out screaming for a mile just trying to see what happens, she goes out smart. It seems like she knows her body already. As somebody that’s brand new to the sport, it typically takes a year or two for people to figure out the pacing and how much to push their body.”

Superior’s Shane Leask (582) edges out Duluth Denfeld’s Charles Juntunen (295) at the finish line of the Dan Conway Classic at Nemadji Golf Course in Superior on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. 
 Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Superior’s Shane Leask (582) edges out Duluth Denfeld’s Charles Juntunen (295) at the finish line of the Dan Conway Classic at Nemadji Golf Course in Superior on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

For the Spartan boys, senior Shane Leask was the top finisher in 12th place with a time of 18:38.9. Leask has been Superior’s top runner the last four years and is looking to finish his last season on a high note.

“He’s got some big goals,” Sims said. “He’s working on dropping his time and his racing strategy a little bit to try to make something happen his last year.”

Dan Conway Classic

At Nemadji Golf Course

Boys

Teams

1. Esko, 47; 2. Northwestern, 61; 3. Cloquet, 78; 4. Duluth Denfeld, 102; 5. Superior, 132; 6. Moose Lake-Willow River, 159; 7. Ashland, 197; 8. Hayward, 217; 9. Hermantown, 228; 10. Carlton-Wrenshall, 263; 11. Lakeview Christian Academy, 292.

Individuals

1. Noah Foster, Cromwell-Wright, 1634.1; 2. Miles Fischer, C, 16:41.9; 3. Nathaniel Rengo, E, 16:34.1; 4. Emmett Johnson, NW, 17:31.9; 5. Jack Riley, CaW, 17:43.5; 6. Jacob Mertz, C, 17:45.1; 7. Xander Schroeder, 17:47.5; 8. Bennett Nelson, NW, 17:49.3; 9. Michael Cornell, E, 17:50; 10. Jack Williams, E, 17:57.8.

Girls

Teams

1. Northwestern, 65; 2. Moose Lake-Willow River/Barnum, 71; 3. Cloquet, 80; 4. Esko, 128; 5. Duluth Marshall, 134; 6. Superior, 136; 7. Hayward, 190; 8. Carlton-Wrenshall, 198; 9. Duluth Denfeld, 202; 10. Hermantown, 219.

Individuals

1. Tayler McMeekin, S, 20:18.9; 2. Adeline Bauer, Ashland, 20:41.7; 3. Grace Hrabik, E, 20:49.3; 4. Keegan McAuliffe, DM, 21:07.5; 5. Emaleigh Olesiak, Cromwell-Wright, 21:17.4; 6. Elise Cawcutt, C, 21:39.8; 7. Stella Lozano, DM, 21:39.8; 8. Grace McCormick, DD, 21:50.3; 9. Shayna Wick, NW, 21:52.4; 10. Alison Raboin, NW, 21:56.4.

Northwestern’s Shayna Wick (514) drops to her knees after crossing the finish line in ninth place at the Dan Conway Classic at Nemadji Golf Course in Superior on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. 
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Northwestern’s Shayna Wick (514) drops to her knees after crossing the finish line in ninth place at the Dan Conway Classic at Nemadji Golf Course in Superior on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram