This pack did not surprise
In the individual competition, last year’s runner-up Laura Hughes of Mankato West made a strong move with 600 meters to go, putting 17 seconds on second-place finisher Cassy Opitz of Eden Prairie, winning 14:28.4 to 14:45.2. Emma Bates of
Hughes learned from last year’s race. “Last year I took off a little earlier because I was feeling good, but this year I just stuck with them just to make sure I could finish it,” she said.
After breaking away from Opitz late in the race, Hughes ran the finishing stretch with a significant lead, though she was unaware of how much breathing room she had. “I didn’t know I was so far ahead. I though she was right on my tail in that last stretch…I just tried to go as fast as I could."
Like Hughes, Opitz was consciously conservative for the first mile. “I know the state meet usually goes out really fast, and I have been working on my pace. It’s not really about time at this meet,” she said.
Photo of Laura Hughes by Gene Niemi.