Cross country: Grove trailblazing new path for Osakis
Carter Grove is forging an unprecedented path for the Osakis boys cross country team.
On Saturday, Nov. 3, the junior will become the first Silverstreak in the program’s young history to compete at the state level, and it’s a culmination of years of work leading up to it.
“He’s a junior that’s been hoping for this opportunity since he was a seventh grader,” Osakis head coach Justin Dahlheimer said. “The biggest difference is maturity. It’s difficult to compete successfully with consistency at younger ages due to the demands the season puts on these kids. In previous years, Carter would break down late in the season, but he’s stronger and more mature to handle the week-to-week training load and still compete at a high level.”
Dahlheimer also credited the program’s growing depth as a reason Grove has seen more success this year.
“Around him, he now has training partners that can push him,” Dahlheimer said. “Adding an athlete like Daniel Savageau to the group this year gave Carter another hard-working teammate that kept the quality of workouts high. They both pushed each other, and late in the season, it was common to see many of those boys running the workouts together.”
Grove snuck in to the state tournament field as an individual during the Section 6A meet in New London on Oct. 25. He broke his own school record -- again -- with a time of 16:57.2 for 14th among the field.
“Carter’s an optimistic, can-do person,” Dahlheimer said. “He embodies the culture of our team: improvement-focused (and) laden with perseverance. Carter has experienced the highs and lows of competing since a seventh grader, and it’s very special to see him achieve a goal that he’s been working towards for longer than just a season.”
Grove is the program’s first boys runner to qualify for state since its genesis five years ago. He joins former girls runner Lauren Savageau as the only Silverstreaks to ever reach the plateau.
“It takes a little longer to build the boys’ side of the program because their competitive window is a little smaller,” Dahlheimer said. “But now that Carter and the kids who started with him that first year are maturing, we hope this is the tip of the iceberg for the boys program.”
Grove will take off in the Class A race, which begins at 1 p.m. at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Dahlheimer hopes the experience helps build the program for years to come.
“It’s hard to put a time goal on a new course that he’s never run, but I know he responds to good competition,” Dahlheimer said. “If we are able to dwell on this weekend (and) learn some things about the next level that we can go back and prepare for next season with, we’ll be in a great spot.”