10 boy cross-country runners to watch in 22: Kingsland’s Hubka to headline star-studded list – Reuters

Another summer has passed, which means another cross-country season is upon us.

It’s always difficult to put these lists together and this year is no exception.

That being said, here are 10 male cross country runners (in no particular order) to watch this season.

Hubka Garrison, Kingsland

Hubka jockeyed with Braxton Osterhaus of Pine Island and John Fritts of Cotter for the title of best runner in section 1A. Hubka finished fifth in the sections, before placing 13th in the Class A state meet – the best state finish back in the region on the boys side. He also had a strong season on the track, placing fourth in the 3,200 meters and seventh in the 1,600 at the Class A state meet last spring. He was impressive at the Wabasha-Kellogg gallop on August 29 with a personal best 10:31.7 in the two-mile race.

Mayo’s Ryan Gwaltney pumps up his teammates during the All-City Cross Country Meet on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021 at Century High School in Rochester.

File photo by Joe Ahlquist/Post Bulletin

The Mayo standout stepped up as a sophomore, representing the Spartans in the first-ever Class AAA state meet where he finished 96th out of 161 total runners. In one of the toughest sections with traditional powers at Lakeville South and North, Gwaltney placed 12th, after earning Big Nine All-Conference honors with a seventh-place finish at the Big Nine Championships. You would think the junior would push for more podiums this season.

As a junior last season, Rasmussen was instrumental in helping the Winhawks win the Division 1AA title and reach the program’s 16th state competition. He placed eighth at the Section 1AA Championships, before ending his year with a 62nd place finish at the Class AA State Meet. The eldest was also a state qualifier in the spring, competing in the 1600 at the class AA state meet.

Braxton Osterhaus, Isle of Pines

The aforementioned Osterhaus is one of the top runners in Section 1A as well as HVL. He placed third in the league championships, before moving ahead of Hubka by one place in sections to finish fourth with a personal best 17 minutes and 13 seconds. In state, he finished in the top half of the field (73rd) and will look to build on that here in his senior season. He and Hubka should be fun to watch face off in Section 1A.

Cross-country skiing boys and girls
Pine Island’s Braxton Osterhaus, left, and Kingsland’s Cole Kruegel and Garrison Hubka during a boys’ and girls’ cross country meet Monday, Aug. 29, 2022, at the Coffee Mill Golf Course in Wabasha.

Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

With the return of the top five finalists from last year, there’s probably no tougher section than 1AA. One of those comebacks is Freier, who placed third in the sectionals and 56th in the class AA state meet. The senior was the Section 1AA champion in the 800 meters, before winning a medal with a sixth-place finish in the state with a personal best.

Josh Langseth, Stewartville

Langseth is right up there with Freier and others when it comes to the top tier of Section 1AA runners. He finished just behind Frier and David Obst of Kasson-Mantorville to take fifth place at the Section 1AA championships, before finishing 76th statewide as a rookie. He also placed fifth at the HVL Championships and finished in the top 10 in seven of his 11 competitions. He and senior teammate Caleb Goff (seventh in sections, 95th in state) give the Tigers a dynamic duo.

David Obst, Kasson-Mantorville

Another of the names mentioned in the crowded 1AA section is KM’s Obst. The now-freshman clocked a season-best time of 17:27.1 to edge Langseth by half a second for fourth place at the sectionals. He finished 121st in the state as an eighth grader. But Obst was truly impressive on the track last spring, winning the 3200 and 1600 Section 1AA titles.

The junior will top Section 1A, having finished seventh a season ago. Fritts had a strong performance at State, placing 37th and his personal best time of 16:56.1 set last season is the second best comeback mark in 1A behind Hubka.

Kingsland’s second runner, Kruegel joins Hubka on this list after a great junior season. Kruegel became a state qualifier with a ninth-place finish in the sections and placed 74th in the Class A state meet.

Senior Kariuki finished 24th in sections for the Panthers, but has the 14th fastest return time in Section 1AAA at 16:54.6. He also finished third at the All-City Meet. It has seen notable gains over the past two years and looks set to continue that trend.

Cross-country skiing boys and girls
Kingsland’s Cole Kruegel finishes during a boys vs. girls cross country meet Monday August 29, 2022 at the Coffee Mill Golf Course in Wabasha.

Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Toya J. Bell