Cross country: Grove breaks through for Osakis at state meet
Carter Grove completed his trailblazing season for the Osakis boys cross country team on Saturday, finishing 69th individually as the first-ever Silverstreak to take part in the Class A boys state meet.
“We talked about it being the tip-of-the-iceberg effect,” Osakis head coach Justin Dahlheimer said. “You break these milestones: individually to get here, incrementally get your team here in future years and just set that bar each year a little bit higher.
“I just draw an expectation that we finish our season here, one way or another. If it’s with another individual next year, or if it’s with a team, I think that’s what we try to do: Get here, stay here and end every season here.”
Grove became the first step in that process, placing 69th of 176 runners at St. Olaf College in Northfield with his time of 17:10.5.
“I wanted to learn from it just to become a better runner,” Grove said of his goals for the day. “I would like to bring a bunch more guys next year because that’d be really special, too.”
Grove said the course felt nice, but one challenge was running in such a crowded pack, which he wasn’t used to in that magnitude.
“I definitely (learned) to run with a bunch of guys. That was crazy,” he said. “Sometimes there were dead spots, where there weren’t a lot guys, but it seemed like it was always kind of packed.”
If Osakis continues building the program as planned, that crowd will include a few extra Silverstreaks in future years.
“It’s nice to have him get this experience, come back as a senior next year with that leadership and the ability to maybe take a talented boys team that we’re returning,” Dahlheimer said. “I think that’s always how we’ve looked at it: Individual success is a precursor for team success.”
Geno Uhrbom of Greenway-Nashwauk-Keewatin topped the field with a first-place time of 15:38.0.
Dahlheimer said Grove held his own in a state debut that could have come years before.
“In a lot of ways, he wishes he would’ve been here earlier in his career. He’s had a lot of success. Ever since he was a seventh-grader, he was leading that boys team,” Dahlheimer said. “This was the year where it came together, and I hope we can use that momentum into his senior season next year and motivate some of the younger runners who are coming back with him.”
Grove is taking the same mindset into the offseason, as well.
“Hopefully (this state appearance) encourages some of the guys who work with me in practice,” he said. “It’ll definitely motivate me to get better, as well. Hopefully it’ll motivate a lot of guys to do even more in the offseason because that really, really helps.”