S: Stillwater Cross Country 2011
BC: The Machine
FC: "A Season Beyond Expectations" | Stillwater Cross Country 2011 State Champions
1: Training at Spearfish, SD and Big Horn Mountains, WY and Twilight | Twilight: "I think it's the best twi-light we've ever had. I've said that before, but I mean it this time. We've never had that many guys under 16 and that many under 17"
3: Marshfield | 1st of 9 D1 teams 1. Stillwater 40 2. Wayzata 52 3. La Crosse Logan 91 | Top-ranked Ponies run to Victory "I'm thrilled, but it wasn't a perfect race. You can run eight on your varsity and we didn't have all eight thrilled with their race at the end, but they were all thrilled we won. It was a whole different style of running. For so long we had built this huge lead on Wayzata and halfway through the race always led them and said try to catch us - and for the last six years they have caught us." The Ponies didn't go out nearly as fast as in previous years, but closed strong to gain some points down the stretch. "We had six guys in front of their fifth, which in cross country is like playing with an extra guy." A lot can happen in the next two months, but a victory on Saturday was better than the alternative. "A lot of years of frustration just evaporated kind of quick. I was just thrilled with it and there was a lot on the line. Whenever No. 1 goes against No. 2, there's excitement in the air. We've been No 1. a lot and we've been No. 2 a lot When you come out of that encounter winning, you can spend the next month pretty happy, until we race them again at Chaska."
5: Faribault | Top-ranked Stillwater wins by comfortable margin Hall and Linner place second, third to lead pack of five Ponies in top 10 Veteran coach Scott Christensen maintains high expectations for the Stillwater boys' cross country team, but even he found little to quibble about after Friday's dominating performance at the Faribault Invitational. "We've got major problems on our team. We had a kid, for a time, misplace his competitor number, a kid show up two minutes late for the awards ceremony and we had another kid leave a napkin in a cup when we left McDonalds. Those were three things I yell at them about, because I couldn't find anything else in the races or anywhere else. It's getting to be now where I told them, you know,29 sounds better than 30 (points). The Ponies placed five runners in front of runner-up on White Bear Lake's second finisher. "I'm starting to compare this team to the team that everybody says is the best cross country team in the history of this state, the 1997 cross country team. At Faribault, the 1997 is one point better." | 1st of 17 teams 1. Stillwater 30 2. White Bear Lake 65 3. Rochester Mayo 108
7: Rochester | Ponies overwhelm field at Rochester Mayo Invite Hall, Colvin and Linner finish in the top four to set pace for Stillwater On the strength of placing three runners in the top four, the Stillwater boys' cross country team easily won the third time in as many attempts this season by a convincing margin at the 21-team Rochester Mayo Invitational. "It looked easy for us, but there were three (other) teams rated in the top 10 down there. These guys cranked out, in all three races. It was not only great times, but very strategic racing. The first mile is uphill and they played it cool going up the first half mile. Our varsity didn't have anybody in the top 25 runners a half mile into it behind all these guys from other teams that wanted to look good at the top of the hill." "Obviously the first three guys are just very close. Every day at practice they support each other and whichever of the three wins any given meet is fine with them." | 1st of 21 teams 1. Stillwater 28 2. Owatonna 87 3. Rochester Mayo 107
9: Milaca | Stillwater's Victory at Milaca is as easy as 1-2-3 Hall, Colvin, Linner "Business as usual. They expect a lot and I expect a lot. Not very many teams can match out 1-2-3 punch." Stillwater has won this event 14 of the last 15 years. "Our goal was to win all four races. We got that accomplished and there were a lot of personal bests, especially in the 10th-grade race." | 1st of 17 teams 1. Stillwater 24 2. Centennial 69 3. Andover 80
11: Chaska | Stillwater turns back challengers Top-ranked Ponies win again, despite room for improvement "The name of the game is winning and we won so that was the most important thing, but we sure didn't look very good doing it. We had a collapse across the board. I think they've grown complacent and maybe a little selfish and no amount of psychological mumbo jumbo was able to instill a sense of urgency in them. It's not really about me, it about the kids being the best team in the state. The name of the game is winning and we accomplished what we needed to accomplish, but as the coach and training director of this team, I'm not at all satisfied. I can't explain how we got into the biggest event of the year and were about 20 seconds off what we ran a month ago. We should have scored 62 points and when you score 82 you've got a problem. This team has gotten to a point now where we're just spinning our tires and watching other teams catch up to us." | 1st of 23 teams 1. Stillwater 82 2. Burnsville 110 3. Wayzata 114
13: Alexandria | 1st of 22 teams 1. Stillwater 52 2. White Bear Lake 119 3. St. Cloud Cathedral 126 | Ponies win third in a row at Alexandria "It was better. I thought our runners were more creative than they were on Tuesday at Chaska. We have three problems in our top seven. No. 1 is inconsistency with our seventh runner: They're really nice kids, but that seventh spot has been open since Brett Parendo graduated and no matter what race I put them in, nobody has really separated themselves there. I think our fifth needs to be closer to our fourth and Tom needs to run like he did last year a little more. Until we get those three things solved we're not absolutely shutdown sensational. Saturday didn't solve any of these three problems, it was just one more example of those three problems, but we have some time to put it together. I just have this coaching optimism, I prefer to call it a hunch, that these kids are just waiting to put it together at the end when it counts."
15: Conference | 1st of 10 teams 1. Stillwater 35 2. White Bear Lake 68 3. Roseville 110 | Colvin, Ponies prevail with titles "I can't believe what I just saw. Our average of 15:44 is the best average ever at Stillwater. Unlike the Minnesota Twins, who don't have a single No. 1 pitcher, this team has three aces. I don't care what the sport is, when you have three aces you have a great team. I felt any one of our three guys could win this race and it just so happened that Eric flowered right in front of our eyes. I knew that we were going to win the race at 1,000 meters. I could just tell these guys were hot today and when it just became fascinating to me the process that Eric was using to summon the courage to build that sort of lead against some very good runners. Our top three ran great. Tom, it was the first race all year he has been pain free and Wayde, they all three PR'd."
17: Sections 4AA | 1st of 15 teams 1. Stillwater 28 2. White Bear Lake 81 3. Roseville 108 | Stillwater runs down another section crown Linner claims individual title as Ponies continue unbeaten season "I thought it was about as perfect a race as we could have run. It's fun when you have a team that runs a textbook race. They controlled both the first pack and we had four guys controlling the second pack for more than half the race. When you've got that situation everybody else is playing defense while we're playing offense. I think of all the section titles in track or cross country, I felt the most sure of this one. I just didn't see see any way we could lose the meet. State is a different story. They've gotten so interchangeable. It's like picking between your three sons, which one do you want to win. I treat them equal and I expect an equal amount from them and they are able to be team leaders equally. Tom is a senior, so who doesn't want the senior to win his last section race. It's the story of a guy who fell short last year and raced above expectations this year. Good things happen to people who just keep getting up and trying again." Linner's focus was on the team and whatever he could do to help that cause.
19: State | 1st of 16 teams 1. Stillwater 92 2. Burnsville 115 3. Edina 129 | Ponies cap unblemished season with title. Hall and Colvin finish among the top 10 as Stillwater claims its first state crown since 1997. "There was definitely happiness for this year's team, but there was also a lot of relief on my part. We've had a large number of near misses that in my mind I thought we had a pretty good chance, but we've had a 13-year drought here so I was starting to wonder if this is ever going to happen again. The relief was definitely there- and a sense of accomplishment for the guys-and then more relief for the boys because I thought that we were in kind of a no-win situation. We had set ourselves up if we won it we were supposed to because we were undefeated and if we lost it was because we choked it away."
21: Nike Heartland | 1st of 26 teams 1. Stillwater 96 2. Hartland Arrowhead (Wis.) 104 3. Bismark (N.D.) 139 | Stillwater wins Heartland Regional Victory provides all-expense paid trip to Portland for Nike Cross Nationals. "I just felt the kids were more wired into this thing that we can do it, compared to we better not lose this thing." That was the difference between a good, but not great, state meet and the regional race. "I think people thought we could be two to four and I was prepared for anything from two to four. I was optimistic about us winning, but I always am. It was a better race, but that's sports. Some guy throws a no-hitter against you today and tomorrow you score 14 runs against that team, it's just sports. That's the unpredictability of sports that keeps bringing you back. I thought we ran better and everybody thought we ran better."
23: Nike Nationals | 10 of 22 teams 1. Lincroft (NJ) XC Club 91 2. Carroll (TX) XC Club 95 3. Davis (UT) XC Club 157 10. Stillwater Running Club 296 | Stillwater finishes 10th at nationals "Everything was really close. All these teams are infinitely close and their top five averages are all within about 15 seconds of each other so I knew it was going to be a super close race and it was. No doubt, these are the best teams in the country. I was thrilled. We were 10th out of 23,000 high schools and the very best teams are there. To finish 10th is OK. We're great, we're happy, we're thrilled. It was just a great experience, pretty similar to the World Cross Country Championships. It was refreshing to get to a meet where teams aren't throwing a football around or throwing a frisbie around, they were serious runners with serious competitiveness to it and that made it feel very professional."