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The Royals boys team stands with their first place trophy at the Nike Cross Regional meet. They won with a 60 point margin on Nov. 15.

Royals cross country has historic day at Heartland

Nov 16, 2015

The Hopkins boys cross country team dominated the Nike Cross Heartland Regional meet on Sunday, advancing to the national meet for the first time in school history.

The top five boys teams, in order, were Hopkins High School, Edina High School, Wayzata High School, Minneapolis Washburn High School, and Dowling Catholic High School.

Out of the top five teams, the top four are not only all from Minnesota but also from the same section. It wasn’t long ago when the top four teams competed at Gale Woods in the the 6AA section meet. Only Hopkins and Washburn made it out of what is known as “the section of death,” and Wayzata and Edina didn’t even receive the opportunity to participate as teams in the St. Olaf state meet.

Hopkins’ boys finished Sunday at Sioux Falls with 71 points. In second place were the Edina Hornets with 131, followed by the Wayzata Trojans with 139.

The top five Royals runners competed at their top level on Sunday, all finishing in under 16 minutes. Out of the 301 runners competing at the South Dakota meet, Royals’ top five all finished in the top 40 with runners Jack Henschel, senior, Seth Eliason, junior, and Owen Hoeft, senior, finishing in the top 20.

With their impressive showing at the Regional meet, Hopkins moved up six places in the national rankings. They are now the second best team in the country, according to Saucony’s Flo50 Rankings.

Coming off of the two worst meets of his season, Jack Henschel, senior, stepped up at St. Olaf and again in Sioux Falls. He was the first Hopkins runner to finish the race.

Henschel set a personal record at the state meet with a time of 15:54.3 and did so again a week later at Sioux Falls with a time of 15:36.9.

“I kind of used sections as a motivator to get me into a better position for state and regionals. I never imagined that I would do so well for regionals. It was just my day. I felt good,” said Henschel.

All of the Hopkins runners felt good, it seemed, as 17 boys and girls set personal records at Regionals.  

The girls’ team had a successful day as well, placing sixteenth as a team. They also averaged a season-best time of 19:35.

As the girls’ season comes to an end, the boys are looking forward to the national meet, and they aren’t satisfied just to have made it there.

“I think that we think we can podium. But our goal is to win. I think that if we have a day like we had [on Sunday], we’ll win,” Henschel said.

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