Boys Cross Country: Torchia battles through pain to place third
NORTHFIELD— Ian Torchia was hanging with the state's top-ranked runner through more than 3,200 meters of the 5,000-meter Class A state cross country championship Saturday.
But, Torchia's legs and body were hurting.
"We were neck and neck until the last mile, then I was really starting to hurt," Torchia, a Rochester Lourdes senior, said of himself and leader Keeghan Hurley. "I knew if he moved, it wasn't going to be fun. He moved and I tried ... I tried to hold off Shane (Streich) and I just couldn't go hard, I couldn't move (my legs) fast enough. I was going as hard as I could."
Hurley, from Perham, kicked it in shortly after the 3,200-meter mark and went on to capture the state championship, crossing the finish line in 15:36.7, nearly 14 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor. That was Waseca's Streich, who used a strong push down the home stretch to pass Torchia for second place, finishing in 15:50.6.
Torchia didn't get the finish he was hoping for, but his third-place effort (15:56.4) stands as his best finish at a state meet. He finishes his career after winning two consecutive Section 1A titles and earning all-state honors in consecutive years; he placed sixth at state last season.
"I was shooting for little bit lower time and a bit better placing," Torchia said, "but I'll be happy with what I did. Keeghan ran a heck of a race and so did Shane."
Torchia was happier with the improvement the Lourdes team showed this season than he was with his own finish. He was joined at the state meet by teammate Dakota Streit, a junior who finished 54th (17:19.6).
"I just can't say enough about the team this year, it came a long way from last year," Torchia said. "This has been six years of the best experience I could ever ask for."
Two other area runners earned all-state honors. Chatfield junior Christian Bance placed 17th in 16:48.9. Bance cut more than 23 seconds off his time from a year ago at state, when he finished 73rd on the same course.
Winona Cotter's Matt Schrupp also earned all-state honors. He finished 21st in 16:51.3.
In addition to Hurley, Perham had two other runners place in the top 10 as it comfortably won the team championship with 52 points. Mounds Park Academy placed second with 111.
Section 1A teams Plainview-Elgin-Millville and Winona Cotter placed 13th and 14th, respectively. P-E-M had 288 points, while Cotter finished with 300. Senior Dillon Clark was P-E-M's top runner, finishing 76th in 17:34.4.
Wingers finish 12th
Aiden Winn was the top area finisher in the Class AA boys state meet. The Red Wing senior finished 55th out of 174 runners, helping the Wingers to a 12th-place finish in the team standings. Winn finished in 16:34.4.
Other runners who counted toward Red Wing's team score were George Nemanich (103rd, 17:04.2); Marcus Warrington (110th, 17:11.4); Darrick Jackson (121st, 17:16.6) and Meyer Beckner (142nd, 17:31.7).
Rochester Century's Sam Nelson placed 65th in 16:42.1 and Austin senior Andrew Baker finished 140th, in 17:29.1.
Richfield senior Obsa Ali beat Wayzata's Connor Olson to the finish line by just more than two seconds to win the state championship. Ali finished in 15:15.2, while Olson finished in 15:17.4.
Wayzata won the state team championship with 53 points, followed by Edina (66) and Stillwater (99).