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FALL PREVIEW: Canby/Minneota looks to make strong push in 2020

Photo by Sam Thiel Pictured are Canby members of the 2020 Canby/Minneota cross country team (Minneota High School is in distance learning mode so due to MSHSL rules they are unable to participate at this time). Canby members include front row (L to R): Brandon Danielson, Nohemi Diaz, Lillie Wollum, Natalie Stoks, Claire Stoks, Amber Moeller, Eva Henningsgard and Isabel Thompson. Back row (L to R): Cooper Pesek, Andrew Bach, Blake Giese, Kolton Duis, Nicolas Full, Colton Ruether, Zach Ourada, Blake Stoks, Caleb Danielson, Joseph Wollum and Hunter Cleveland. Not pictured from Canby team: Grace Drietz, Braelyn Merritt, McKenzie Ruether, Rachel Wollum and Isaac Bach.

CANBY/MINNEOTA –The Canby/Minneota boys and girls cross country team will rely on a blend of veteran experience and youthful talent this season and will look to make a strong push under third-year head coach Allyson Pesek.

On the girls side, Canby/Minneota will be led by a veteran group of returners, including Grace Drietz, Braelyn Merritt and McKenzie Ruether. Drietz and Merritt both made the state meet last season while Ruether is a three-time state qualifier. Claire Stoks, Rachel Wollum and Isabel Thompson will also contribute to their times.

On the boys side, Canby/Minneota will be led by Blake Stoks, who qualified for the state meet a year ago. Pesek said they will also have a handful of younger runners who will look to make a significant impact for the team this season, including Kolton Duis, Blake Giese and Colton Ruether.

Pesek said that blend of experience and youth will play a key role in their success as a group as they look to continue to push towards making the state meet as a team.

“On the boys side, we have a great group of leaders but we also have that freshmen class that’s really young so to bring them all together, I think those boys will be really fun to watch,” Pesek said. “The girls, we have the returning group, but we also have some younger ones that we’ll need to step up so it’ll be interesting to see how the girls meld together by the end of the season.”

Canby/Minneota started the season in strong fashion, with both the boys and girls teams taking first place at the Lakeview Invite on Sept. 1.

Going into the rest of their season, Pesek said she’s just looking forward to having the opportunity for her team to race and continue to strengthen their bond as a group.

“We just want to race. We have such a great group of kids this year and they work so hard and more than anything I want them to have the opportunity to get out and race,” Pesek said. “I love cross country and it’s just a unique sport where kids come together and almost become a family with one another and I just want that for these kids as much as we possibly can.”

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