Superior’s Taylor McMeekin dominated the Lake Superior Conference meet Tuesday, Oct. 12, at Grand View Golf Course in Duluth.
McMeekin’s time of 19 minutes, 20.8 records was not only a personal best by more than 30 seconds, she was nearly 47 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Della Bettendorf from Proctor. The win was the fourth of the season for McMeekin, a freshman in her first season of cross country.
McMeekin broke out ahead early and continued to put distance between herself and the rest of the pack.
“The first part, going up those hills, it was such a burner and I just to power through because I knew coming down would be gradual and I would get some speed and a break after that,” McMeekin said. “I wanted to get ahead right away — I had raced all of these girls before and I knew I needed to stay strong.”
McMeekin’s performance was a surprise to herself and Spartan coach Lee Sims. He thought she was capable of winning the race, but thought it would be a race between McMeekin and Proctor’s two top runners, Bettendorf and Lizzy Harnell, who finished third.
“(Proctor’s) got two up top that I knew would be coming for her,” Sims said. “Taylor’s been training so hard, but smart too. She knows when to push and she knows when to hold back.”
The Rails, led by Bettendorf and Harnell, took the team title, with four of their five scoring runners finishing in the top 10.
Cloquet junior Miles Fischer won the boys race in 16:50, with fellow Lumberjack Jake Mertz finishing second about six seconds later.
“The course was a little different than usual, you just had to push up the hills and do the best you could and then use the downhill to your advantage,” Fischer said.
Cloquet placed three runners in the top four positions, and Sam Buytaert almost caught Proctor’s Josh Knight for third place.
“As the third runner, it’s my job to pass as many of the other teams that are between them and me as I can,” Buytaert said. “We wanted to go one, two, three today, real bad, but I just couldn’t catch (Knight).”
Lake Superior Conference Championships
1. Cloquet, 45; 2. Proctor, 50; 3. Superior, 75; 4. Grand Rapids, 83; 5. Hibbing, 112; 6. Duluth Denfeld, 116; 7. Hermantown, 223.
1. Miles Fischer, C, 15:50; 2. Jake Mertz, C, 16:56.4; 3. Josh Knight, P, 17:00.1; 4. Sam Buytaert, C, 17:02.1; 5. Austin Hanson, GR, 17:33.3; 6. Xander Schroeder, DD, 17:43.7; 7. Shane Leask, S, 17:50.9; 8. Luke Bettendorf, P, 17:53.8; 9. Elijah Wozniak, P, 17:55.1; 10. Jacob Lind, S, 17:59.8.
1. Proctor, 38; 2. Hibbing, 50; 3. Cloquet, 76; 4. Duluth Marshall, 114; 5. Superior, 124; 6. Grand Rapids, 155; 7. Hermantown, 170.
1. Taylor McMeekin, S, 19:20.8; 2. Della Bettendorf, P, 20:07.6; 3. Lizzy Harnell, P, 20:08.5; 4. Mileena Sladek, H, 20:08.6; 5. Grace McCormick, Duluth Denfeld, 20:16.7; 6. Stella Lozano, DM, 20:32.5; 7. Abigail Theien, H, 20:39; 8. Paisley Kleiman, P, 20:44.6; 9. Elise Cawcutt, C, 20:48.5; 10. Charlotte Ripp, C, 20:52.1.