Meet six runners who aspire to lead the pack at state cross country

The high school cross-country state meet left St. Olaf College in Northfield after 30 years and returned to the University of Minnesota's Les Bolstad Golf Course. The half-dozen 5,000-meter races take place Saturday. Here are six runners to watch across the classes:

BOYSRobert Mechura, junior, Roseville

The one meet out of five this fall where he didn't place first was the Griak Invitational — where he placed third overall and second among Minnesota runners. He placed 38th at state last year but should challenge Class 3A runner-up Sam Scott of Minneapolis Southwest for the top spot.

Sam Scott, senior, Minneapolis Southwest

His racing ledger this fall reads first, first, second, first and first. The most recent victory came in the Class 3A, Section 6 championship race. A year ago, he ran to second at the state meet.

Eddie Snider, junior, Mounds Park Academy

Ran to first at the Class 1A, Section 4 finals less than two seconds ahead of Heritage Christian's Lev Dougherty. The duo will battle again for a state title. Snider has won four of his five races this fall.

GIRLSNorah Hushagen, junior, Forest Lake

The top-rated runner in the Class 3A cross-country coaches poll won six of her seven races this fall. In the other one, she led the Minnesota contingent with a third-place effort at the Griak Invite.

Evie Malec, freshman, Minnetonka

Finished ahead of Chanhassen senior Marissa Long at the Class 3A, Section 2 meet. Got faster all season, winning all three of her October races and setting a personal best of 17 minutes, 49.40 seconds at the Lake Conference Championships.

Isabelle Schmitz, senior, Hutchinson

Schmitz, the top-rated runner in the Class 2A cross-country coaches poll and a University of Minnesota commit, is favored to add an individual state championship to her already crowded résumé. She will need to outpace a pair of top runners and St. Paul Highland Park teammates — defending state medalist Luna Scorzelli (rated third) and Grace Lewis-Mosher (fifth).