Fairmont runners net 2nd at Buc Invite

ELMORE — The Buc cross country invitational moved 14 miles south of its usual location — Riverside Town & Country Club — to the Minn-Iowa Golf Course in Elmore on Thursday due to recent weather-related damage to the golf course north of Blue Earth.

Unfortunately, the 5K run — 3.1 miles — was inadvertently shortened to 2.92 miles, but the distance did not prevent a down-to-the-wire finish. Section 2A girls running rivals Belle Plaine and Fairmont were separated by combined times, 133:20-144:27, for the top two spots in the five-team competition.

St. Peter (151:58) and host Blue Earth Area (185:24) captured third and fourth place, respectively, in the girls race, while St. James Area was incomplete.

Belle Plaine’s McKenna Herrmann held off Fairmont’s Laura Thompson for top overall divisional honors, 18:38-18:42. Fairmont’s Sarah Krumholz placed fourth in a time of 18:53.

Tabitha Thatcher netted 11th place overall by crossing the finish line in 20:02 to generate the Cardinals’ third-best time behind Thompson and Krumholz.

Hannah Neusch and Emma Gudahl delivered 15th and 16th places, respectively, by posting times of 20:46 and 20:55, to round out Fairmont’s top five runners.

Kobi Malo garnered 22nd place in 22:18 for the Cardinals, Sara Sundblad turned in a time of 22:53 to garner 25th overall, Becca Lunn crossed the finish line in 23:06 for 26th overall, while Makena Rodriguez posted a time of 23:50 to place 32nd.

Amanda Jacobson led Blue Earth Area’s effort with a 21st-place showing in 22:06, while Callie Stevermer was second on the hometown roster in 28th place in 23:09.

Gabby Weerts and Emma Germain went back-to-back in 34th and 35th, respectively, in 24:49 and 24:55, for Blue Earth Area, while Elizabeth Jacobson netted 39th overall in 26:39.

Aubrey Hueper and Hayley Jahnke completed the Bucs’ performance in 41st (30:24) and 42nd (31:15), respectively.

In the boys’ competition, St. James Area fended off Belle Plaine and Fairmont for first-place team accolades on Thursday in Elmore.

The Saints amassed a combined time of 115:52, while the Cardinals and the Tigers tied for runner-up boys honors at 120:00 each.

St. Peter (122:33) and Blue Earth Area (135:45) completed the five-team boys standings, respectively.

Grant Strukel topped BEA by completing the 2.92-mile course in 15:53 to capture third place overall behind invitational champion Drew Hastings of Belle Plaine (15:41) and runner-up Seth Pierson of St. James Area (15:48).

William Saari paced Fairmont’s third-place team showing by crossing the finish line fifth overall in 16:04, while teammate Connor Artner posted a 10th-place effort of 16:32.

Andrew Moeller finished third on Fairmont’s roster with a 14th overall time of 16:59, while Dylan Kennedy contributed a time of 17:20 to pocket 19th place overall.

Fairmont’s Darrian Kueker edged out Blue Earth Area’s Brady Olsen for 22nd place overall, 17:31-17:34, while the Cardinals’ Tony Ortega delivered a 24th-place showing in 17:35.

Jacob Lueth netted 30th place in 17:58 for Fairmont, Tyrell Zieske nailed down 35th place in 18:22, Cesar Flores ran to a time of 18:38 for 38th, while Michael Johnson chipped in 45th place in 19:20.

Cameron Germain (19:53), Eric Becker (20:18) and Blake Townsend (20:38) rounded out the Bucs’ boys top-five performance in 46th, 47th and 48th places, respectively.

Nate Phippen (20:38), Thomas Lindsey (20:57), Angel Martinez (21:18), Carson Strukel (23:36) and James Greer (24:21) completed Blue Earth Area’s effort, respectively, in capturing 49th through 53rd place.

Fairmont and Blue Earth Area compete in the Big South Conference Meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Redwood Falls.