Just over a year ago, then Farmington eighth-grader Anne Fenske won the MSHSL class AA girls' state cross-country championship in a spectacular performance. Fenske started running varsity the year before as a seventh-grader and finished in the top-10 at state that year as well, however she really began to assert her dominance last season. She and teammate/running partner Lauren Peterson finished first-second, respectively, at the 2016 state meet and burst onto the national running scene at the same time.
She returned this season and continued right where she left off. With Peterson at her side once again, Fenske won nearly every race she ran this season. On top of those wins, she finished second at the annual Irish Invite in Rosemount and took third at the esteemed Roy Griak Invitational. She ended the season with South Suburban Conference and section championships before taking second at state and bettering her championship time from last year.
Since her state championship a year ago, Fenske said that not much has changed for her.
"The past year hasn't been much different other than getting more national recognition," she said. "It's been a fun experience, and all my friends, family, coaches and teammates have helped me along the way, which helps a lot."
Fenske is ranked 17th in the Flo50 Girls national cross-country rankings and has begun to carry over her impressive performances into larger, regional meets. Shortly after the state meet, Fenske and many of her Tiger teammates traveled to South Dakota to run in the Nike NXR Heartland Regional race featuring the best runners across the Midwest. She finished third behind Emily Covert, who finished ahead of Fenske in this year's class AA state race and Tierney Wolfgram, who won the girls class A race.
Heading into this past school season, Fenske said that her goal was to simply continue to improve.
"Going from last year to this year, I feel like I've gotten smarter and stronger as a runner," she explained. "I'm happy with how my season progressed, I improved my times almost every race from last season to this season and I'm happy with my improvement. It was also great that our team improved throughout the year and had such a strong finish at state."
Despite her second-place finish at the state meet, she said she was pleased with her performance.
"I feel like I did the best I could in the race and I was happy with my time and how I did," Fenske said. "Being a part of the state meet is always fun, especially with having such a talented field of girls, it makes it even more fun to race."
Just as special to her was the ability to compete with her teammates at the meet, which she will have the opportunity to do so again with next year.
"Our team is very talented and it has been very fun to run with them the past couple of years," Fenske continued. "We all get along very well and we won't be losing anyone from our varsity team, so I think that will help us that much more for next year."
Fenske also expressed how thankful she is to have a teammate and like Peterson with which to work alongside.
"It is also very nice to have a training partner like Lauren on the team to push each other at practice, because not everyone has someone like that on their team," she said.
Fenske said she will have the winter off and then she rejoins the track and field team in the spring. She and Peterson are just as unstoppable on the track as they are running through woods or golf courses. Last June, the pair helped Farmington take second at the class 2A state track and field meet held at Hamline University. Peterson edged out Covert by less than a second in the 3,200-meter run, while Fenske took third in the 3,200 and won the 1,600 by less than a second as well.