Cross Country starts off strong at home opener

First home meet in 20 years


Maria Perez-Barriga

Eight graders Sela Myers and Nora Lindman run alongside a Bloomington Jefferson runner Sept. 4. Park began their season by hosting their first home meet in 20 years.

Maria Perez Barriga

The boys’ and girls’ cross country teams participated in their first meet in a newly designed course at St. Louis Park Middle School against Benilde St. Margaret’s and Bloomington Jefferson.

Senior girls’ captain Lucy zumBrunnen said the team was struggling at first since they were trying to adapt to the new environment.

“We have never run this course before, so it was not what everyone had been anticipating,” Zumbrunnen said. “This is the first race under our belt, it was definitely hard and a lot of people went into it thinking it was gonna be a lot easier than it actually was.”

According to head coach Chris Nordstrom, the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams had a good meet and everyone was keen on being able to compete. 

“It’s been so long since we’ve competed, so I was really just eager to get the kids to come out here and race. I know they’ve been eager to come out and race. So, super pumped that we had a nice day and we came out and just gave it what we had,” Nordstrom said. 

According to senior boys’ captain, Jackson Thoe, the boys’ cross country team performed well for their first meet. Thoe believed they could improve on controlling more of a constant speed during the race. 

“Some of the boys could have some more consistency and especially in the middle of the races, especially just keeping their form together and just kind of keeping their own pace and then pushing it towards the end,” Thoe said. 

zumBrunnen said racing in a flat course was helpful to the team. The layout also made it difficult, as the team trains on courses that include hills, which make it harder for the runners to motivate themselves.

“I liked that it was flat. We usually don’t ever get flat meets like this, but I also think that can sometimes be a blessing and a curse because we train with hills and we are all focused on being able to take a hill if we ever get one,” zumBrunnen said

Nordstrom said both teams have adjusted to the social distance guidelines and he feels confident about the teams’ performances.

“It’s been tough. The masks and the distancing and the pods and all that. They’re really taking it well and taking it in stride and this group of kids is so easy to work with,” Nordstrom said. “I feel really good about where we’re at. We’re training and we’re just gonna keep doing our part to make sure that we can keep having the season.”

Thoe said due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, there are fewer supporters in the crowd to cheer on the team. However, he is grateful to be able to compete this year. 

“It’s definitely tougher with less support from parents, but we’re looking forward to (more meets) as it’s better than nothing, it’s better than not racing at all,” Thoe said.

The boys’ and girls’ cross country teams’ next meet takes place 9 a.m on Sept. 12 at Gale Woods against Chanhassen.