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Making their case: GF runners have strong showing in Saturday’s meet

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Central's Makayla Weiss nears the finish line during the Grand Forks Invitational girls varsity race Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Park. Weiss would take fourth individually in the race and Central would take second in team scores. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald2 / 6
Grand Forks Red River runner Jake Arason takes his final strides as he nears the finish line at Saturday's Grand Forks Invitational varsity boys race. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald3 / 6
High school runners sprint down the course at Lincoln Park during Saturday's varsity girls race at the Grand Forks Invitational. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Hera4 / 6
Fargo Davies runner Megan Lundstrom cruises down the final leg of the Grand Forks Invitational girl's varsity race Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Park. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald5 / 6
Bismarck's Sean Korsmo takes first place in the boys varsity race at Saturday's Grand Forks Invitational at Lincoln Park. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Hera6 / 6

Jake Arason pays close attention to the weekly state cross country coaches’ poll; Mikayla Weiss, not so much.

Both Grand Forks runners made cases for this week’s poll with strong showings Saturday at the annual Grand Forks Invitational high school meet at Lincoln Park.

Arason finished third in the boys division, leading the Roughriders to third place in the team race. Bismarck Legacy won the title with 51 points, followed by Bismarck High (59) and the Roughriders (60), with Grand Forks Central fourth (112).

Weiss was fourth in the girls race, helping the Knights to a runner-up finish. Defending state champion Fargo Davies took the title with 26 points, with Central at 90. Red River scored 146 to place sixth.

Arason has been as high as sixth in the weekly A poll. But he dropped out of poll, then reappeared in the No. 10 spot each of the last two weeks.

“I watch it. Very closely,’’ the senior said. “It’s nice to be on it. And I want to move up. So I pay attention to it.

“I was a little disappointed (when he fell out of the rankings). That was after the Bismarck meet. The Bismarck kids ran well. But I got some of them today.’’

Arason ran his third-fastest time of the season Saturday, a 16:33.4 compared to the winning time of 16:06.5 by champion Sean Korsmo of Bismarck High. Red River’s Matthew Rongitsch (seventh, 16:54.9) also was a top-10 finisher.

The poll “definitely is a bit of motivation,’’ Arason said.

Weiss was in the poll last season, which concluded with her finishing eighth at the state meet. But a foot injury the junior suffered last summer has slowed her down this season. She’s yet to be in the top-10 rankings.

“I haven’t watched (the polls) too closely this season,’’ Weiss said. “I was injured, so I didn’t want to stress myself out watching them, to put pressure on myself.

“It is pretty cool to be ranked. When I first started running, I never thought that would happen.’’

Megan Lundstrom of Davies won with an 18:53.2. Weiss ran a 19:15.3, with teammate Alexis Roehl (eighth, 19:29.9) also getting in the top 10. Weiss set a season-best time by 40 seconds.

“I’m getting stronger,’’ Weiss said.

And about those polls next week?

“I think Jake will move up and Mikayla be in the top 10,’’ said Central coach Sean Allan, who runs the poll. “They both beat some ranked runners. They ran good races.’’

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