Minster Cross Country Teams Again Expect Big Things

Staff Writer

The Minster girls cross country team enters the 2018 season with high expectations once again as the two-time defending state champions.

Despite losing eight to graduation, Minster lost just one runner out of last year’s top seven, said Jessie Magoto, who enters her 20th season as the head cross country coach.

“I’m just excited to see what we can do,” Magoto said.  “They’ve put in the time over the summer and in the weight room. They’ve got a good base. Now we’ll see how competitive they can be and as a team how much they can gel and depend on each other and trust each other in a race. Our theme this year is purpose. Every run, every one has a purpose. We want every one to realize every practice, every race, what’s the purpose behind what we’re doing.”

Last week, that purpose was to bake the best cupcakes possible. The team had a cupcake bake-off in the lead up to the season opener. “They were pretty impressive,” Magoto said. “If they run as well as they bake, we’re going to have a good season.”

All signs point to that being the case. The Wildcats got off to a terrific start on Saturday with a win at the Bob Schul Invitational.

Minster scored 34 points, 17 points better than second-place W. Liberty Salem. Emma Watcke took third overall with a 19:16.8 time, Kaitlynn Albers was fourth (20:00.5), Ella Boate finished eighth (20:28.5), Gwendolyn Meiring was ninth (20:33.5), Madeline Magoto took 10th (20:34.9) and Mackenzie Bohman was 11th (20:42.2).

Boys

The Minster boys cross country team finished fourth at the Bob Schul Invitational on Saturday with 175 points.

Luke Barga paced Minster with a 17th-place finish (17:33.7). Austin Felice took 27th (18:04.9) and Jon Albers was 29th (18:07.2).

The Wildcats made a change in their schedule. On Saturday, Sept. 15, the Minster boys cross country team will compete at the Cedarville Invite instead of the Eaton Invite.

The Minster varsity team has 19 runners this season.

“That’s right up there in my top three or four as far as numbers as a coach,” said longtime head coach Larry Topp.

Minster, which won the MAC championship last season, lost three of its top five runners from last year’s team.

“Now that sounds bad, but it means I’m returning my two, my three, my six  and my seven and on down, “Topp said. “So we have high hopes for this year.”

The team features a senior class that has been a part of two MAC championship squads.

Minster also added four new faces to the program that have run track.

“Some of those kids are very talented athletes, so it’s nice to get some new blood in there and of course they were in for a rude awakening when we go out for our first practices. They didn’t understand what we were all about. Now they do,” said Topp, laughing.