The Men's Team
For many years, Minneapolis South had been the dominate team over the Minneapolis conference teams. Southwest had been more inconsistant, doing well some times, but not enough for them to be the dominating team over the city. In 1998 a group of men came together and formed a new Southwest varsity team. Mike Norbeck, Reed DeLapp, Dennis Curran, Nik Rowell, Paul Sellers, Adam Hendrickson, and more, worked hard all summer to see a successful cross country season. Into the city meet they went, running hard and strong. Mike Norbeck taking first (16:43), Reed DeLapp taking second (16:45), and the rest of the team bringing it in strong enough for them to dominate the race and win the city conference. It looked as if going to State was a reasonable goal. Unfortunately Mike Norbeck came down with an injury so the team tried a new strategy for racing, which failed, and Regions was a bomb. Fortunately some of the varsity runners were juniors, including Norbeck, and would be back next year to try again.
1999: A Year of Glory and Peaking
Track season seemed a success. People had fun and ran well. But the focus was on the 4 x 800 meter relay team. It was a team with such runners as Erik Lundgren, Paul Sellers, Nik Rowell, and Reed DeLapp, all whom ran cross country. The relay team ran well all season, winning many races, and went to city confident of victory. They won it, setting a new city record in the process, and then came to Regions with the hope of going to State. For Reed DeLapp and Nik Rowell, it was their last chance of going to the State meet before graduation. The Regions race was close the whole way, but Nik Rowell, third leg, managed to open a two to three second gap between himself and second place. Reed DeLapp anchored and maintained the lead until about 300 meters left and then lost it. He stayed with the leader until the final 100 meters and then passed him at 50 meters left and won the race. There is a video clip of the finish here.The team did not do as well at State as they wanted, but still went, which is the most important thing.
Left: The finish by Reed DeLapp. Right: The team. From left to right: Paul Sellers, Nik Rowell, Reed DeLapp, and Erik Lundgren.
The cross country season of 1999 was an incredible one. The varsity team included such runners as returning star Mike Norbeck, and also Dennis Curran, freshman Neil Grosscup, head captain Dan Keifenheim, Erik Lundgren, Paul Sellers, and Dan Schulte-Sasse. The season started out well. The team won their first meet, the Early Bird Invitational, then proceeded to win their second meet and beat one of their new main rivals, The Academy of Holy Angels, who had just entered their Region 5AA to offer more competition for going to State. After their second meet, things went downhill in terms of racing. Always racing a little tired, they lost the Hudson invitational for the first time in a couple years. Then went to U of M (Roy Griak Invite) to run against Minneapolis South and were beat by an incredible margin. Their top runner, Mike Norbeck, who had run 16:43 the year before at City, ran over 18 minutes at U of M 1999. Things were not looking good, though according to their workouts, the athletes were much faster than they were racing. Maybe if they were well rested they would run fast. At city they were not completely rested, but ran hard. Mike Norbeck came through at 16:27 to finish 2nd and beat all of South's runners. The Southwest team won the City meet again by a large margin. The next test was to see if they could do well at Regions. This year they did, running times of 16:14, 16:53, 16:55, 16:59, and 17:05 to finish in 2nd place to Holy Angels, and beating South by 1 point. For the first time in a long time, Minneapolis South did not qualify for the State meet, and Southwest did. At State they finished 13th.
City Champs 1999: from left to right: Daniel Schulte-Sasse, Koby Hagen, Mike Norbeck,
Dan Keifenheim, and Erik Lundgren.
Both Paul Sellers and Erik Lundgren were coming back to the 4 x 800 meter relay team. There were high expectations for the relay. It was predicated that the team would outperform the 1999 team. Joining the relay and replacing Reed and Nik were Dan Keifenheim and a mysterious fourth man which remained undecided until Regions. For the most part Ethan Jewett ran as the fourth member. The season started off well with the team winning the indoor city championship. But it seemed the relay was improving very slowly and only Erik Lundgren was having breakthroughs. When the team went to the City Relay meet as defending champions they lost to South's 4 x 8. Then they lost again at the City meet, and South set a new city record. At Regions it was decided Neil Grosscup would run on the 4x8. They looked good after the first leg, staying ahead of South, but by the beginning of the fourth and final leg South was in front and passed off to their top 800 runner. Southwest fell behind. South won and Southwest finished 4th. Paul Sellers and Erik Lundgren both returned on the 4 x 400 meter relay team to help them finish 2nd, but they did not go to State.
2001: High Hopes and Big Goals
Both the 4 x 800 meter relay teams at South and Southwest had lost up to three of their runners. Although some had hopes that returning to State would be possible, most people, and even the Southwest coaches, thought it was a very long shot and not a very realistic one. Sophomore Neil Grosscup was the top returning runner with a 2:04. Next was Senior Ethan Jewett with 2:05, then Sophomore Erik DeLapp who had run 2:13 as a Freshman, and Mauricio Yaurincela who had been known to run 2:15's. Over the winter though, DeLapp dropped his time to 2:09 and Mauricio to 2:06. When the City Indoor meet came, Southwest and South had their first showdown. Ethan Jewett was first, and he finished a close second to Jesse Horst of South and handed off to Erik DeLapp. DeLapp took the lead at 400 meters and kept expanding it, handing off to Mauricio, who expanded it even more and then handed of to Neil. They finished in 8:40 and won by over thirty seconds. The team didn't see many improvements in the middle of the season. They won the City Relay Meet in 8:43, running similar times. Looking at times from teams like Maple Grove and Park Center, the two teams that had beaten them last fall in Cross Country, it seemed that going to State would not be possible. Suddenly the relay team found a Senior sprinter named Nate Hargrove who had never done Track before that could run a 51 second 400. They convinced him to try the 800 at a Southwest Time Trial, and he ran to an easy 2:01. That brought back hope that the relay could perform well. It was decided that when City came, Nate wouldn't run, but he would be the anchor at Regions. At City the relay team won easily again over South in 8:40, even though their anchor Ethan Jewett ran an easy 2:12. In the open 800 at city Nate finished first in 2:02, Ethan finished second in 2:02.6, and DeLapp finished fourth in 2:05. Then came Regions and it was just like Cross Country; Southwest vs. Maple Grove vs. Park Center. It was going to be Ethan Jewett, Erik DeLapp, Neil Grosscup, and Nate Hargrove. But two days earlier Neil came down with a serious illlness and had to go to the hospital. In his place was the more inconsistant slower Mauricio Yaurincela. The race started and Ethan Jewett got them out to a close second with 2:02. Erik DeLapp took the lead briefly but finished again a close second with 2:04. Mauricio then got the baton, falling into a close third in 2:08. Nate started and quickly caught the leaders, sitting on them. Coming down the final 100 meters it was Southwest, Maple Grove, and Park Center. Nate moved to the outside and flew past the two other teams, finishing first. Nate's time was 2:01. The team had qualified for State again. At State they broke the school record and ran 8:11. Ethan Jewett was first (2:02), Erik DeLapp was second (2:03), Neil Grosscup was third (2:07), and Nate Hargrove anchored (1:58). They finished 8th.