By: Abby Altman
On Monday afternoon, teams from 7 Saint Paul high schools showed up to the Highland Golf Course to compete for the conference title.
Como Park, Harding, Humboldt, Central, Johnson, and Washington Tech all put their best runners forward to try and compete with the reigning champions, Highland Park. The Highland Park girls team has won 11 straight city conference titles, while the boys team has won 3 straight.
For the Boys race, there was a lot of pressure on many runners. Highland Park and Como Park were both section champions and state qualifiers in 2021, and the conference title would not be an easy one to win for either team. Como’s number 1 runner, Charlie Power Theisen, is ranked 11 overall in class AA for the state of Minnesota.
Power Theisen was expected to win the boys race, and he did just that. He finished with a time of 15:40, which was 22 seconds ahead of 2nd place, who happened to be Charlie’s teammate, Mason Aarness.
Highland Park’s first runner, Gavin Roberts, crossed the finish line right behind Aarness, and was soon followed by teammate Ben Martin. Highland Park had runners finish in places 3, 4, 7, 8, and 9, while Como had runners finish 1, 2, 5, 13, and 14.
“It feels great to represent Como in the conference,” said Power Theisen after winning his 3rd straight conference title.
Highland Park beat Como by 4 points. In comparison, there was a 28 point difference between Como Park and 3rd place, Central.
The results for the Varsity boys race were 1) Highland Park, 2) Como Park, 3) Central, 4) Humboldt, 5) Washington, 6) Johnson, and 7) Harding.
Highland Park is ranked number 5 overall in Class AA.
Highland’s Boys Varsity team consists of 5 seniors out of 7 runners. Graduation will likely take a toll on the future of the boys team.
For the girls, this meet was not as stressful as previous meets they’ve attended. “The pre-race atmosphere contributed to so many amazing races,” said senior Delia Johnson. “There was no nervous energy. We were all confident, calm, and energized with team spirit.”
The Highland Park girls team won the conference title by a wide margin. Junior Luna Scorzelli cruised to the finish line with a new school record of 17:25. Senior Delia Johnson followed in 2nd place with a time of 18:17. Highland finished just shy of a perfect score, with runners coming in at 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7, with Laura McClary from Central finishing in 4th.
Only 4 teams were able to fill a lineup for the girls varsity meet. Highland Park, Central, Humboldt, and Washington, (finishing in that order), filled out full rosters and competed for the conference title.
The Highland Park girls are ranked number 1 in Class AA state. The reigning state champions do not appear to have lost any of their fire or determination over the past year.
“There is mostly excitement in terms of results,” says senior Chloe Koch. “Everyone just wants to see how fast they can race and have fun at the same time.” Koch also said that “There is some pressure to perform well but that isn’t being pushed by the coaches or the team. We know everyone will run super well.”
Confidence is exuding from the Highland Park girls as they look ahead to sections next week.
Unlike the boys team, the girls team will likely not be as affected by graduating seniors. Only 2 seniors currently hold varsity roster spots, and the girls JV team is on fire this season and has many girls ready to fill those spots.
Highland Park also took home the JV trophies, as JV boys and girls took the number 1 spot in their races.
Junior Will Pinto won the JV boys race, and sophomore Sam Palm took home the JV girls victory.
The HP JV girls have been undefeated in races this season, and dominated the playing field at Conference. Highland put 35 girls into the JV race, and in the top 30 finishers out of 60, only 3 were not from Highland.
All teams will be looking ahead to their section meets next week.