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Fairmont runs to 2nd, 5th at I-90 Invite

PACK RUNNING — Fairmont’s Laura Thompson (right) leads a pack during the I-90 cross country invitational on Thursday at Cedar Creek Park in Fairmont. Fairmont’s Macy Hanson (red jersey) and Martin County West’s Marissa Whitehead (left) close on the leaders. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — After a one-year hiatus, a Fairmont girl reclaimed the individual crown at the I-90 cross country meet in Fairmont.

Laura Thompson dominated the girls race at Cedar Creek Park, with a course-, race- and school-record time of 18:53.3, beating the old race record of 19:13.

The Cardinals’ Macy Hanson also came close to breaking the old race record with her second-place finish in 19:18.

Belle Plaine’s McKenna Herrmann (19:33.5), St. Peter’s Hadley Stuehrenberg (19:56.5) and St. James Area’s Paola Acevedo (20:06.8) rounded out the girls’ top five in the 104-competitor race.

Carys Gudahl was the next Cardinal girl to hit the chute when she claimed 17th in 20:52, followed by Tabitha Thatcher in 19th with a time of 20:59.

Emma Gudahl gave the Cardinals their final contributing time with her 21st-place finish in 21:35.6.

Hannah Neusch finished 23rd with a time of 21:50.5, while Ellie Ortega was close behind with a time of 21:53.4 for 24th.

Sara Sundblad (22:42.4) and Eleanor Hamlet (22:46) finished 41st and 42nd, respectively, for the Cardinals, while Ava Terfehr (24:02.9) finished 56th and Bethany Thatcher (24:18) took 62nd.

Lily Higgins was next for Fairmont with her 68th-place time of 25:06.2, then Justine Eisenmenger (25:27) finished 75th.

Emily Kerekes took 90th with her time of 27:16.4.

Fairmont head coach Bob Bonk said he was encouraged by how well the Cardinal girls competed against high-level competition.

“Laura (Thompson) shattered the old record and Macy (Hanson) almost got it, too,” Bonk said. “It was a terrific, terrific, one-two finish, but it was much more than that. Belle Plaine has great depth, but I think pretty much all of our scorers ran if not their personal bests, at least their season’s best. I thought just coming in that we were ready to run fast, you can kind of tell sometimes. … I’m real encouraged by the results.”

The Class A No. 7-ranked Fairmont girls finished second overall with 53 points, behind No. 8-ranked Belle Plaine’s first-place total of 41. Martin County West took fourth with 97 and North Union finished seventh with 200.

Marissa Whitehead finished sixth for the Mavericks with her time of 20:15.2, while teammate Katie Hartke was close behind at 20:17.3 for seventh.

Caitlin Whitehead finished 31st for MCW with her time of 22:15.4, then Brianna Morrow (22:37.5) and Emily Matejka (22:38.3) finished 37th and 38th, respectively.

Kari Matejka took 44th for the Mavericks with a time of 23:09.4, while Ivy Kokoruda took 52nd in 23:57.2.

MCW’s Annie Schafer hit the chute in 26:44.4, good for 87th.

Hannah Morphew led North Union with a time of 24:10.8 good for 58th, while Cassie Beadle was close behind at 24:12.3 for 59th.

Jordyn Cummins (24:21.4) finished 63rd, while Hanna Sandvig (24:44.5) finished 64th for the Warriors.

Sam Nielsen rounded out the Warriors’ times with her 88th-place finish in 27:02.9.

Ella Bergeman was the first Madelia/Truman /Granada-Huntley-East Chain Jayhawk to hit the chute when she finished in 45th with a time of 23:14.8, while Samantha Moeller took 77th with her time of 25:44.9.

Elizabeth Jacobson finished first for the Blue Earth Area Bucs with her time of 26:33.4, placing her 86th, while Sara Hernandez ran a time of 28:57.7 for 96th.

In the boys race, Worthington won by one point at 52, while Mankato East and St. James Area tied at 53. Mankato East took second when its sixth-place runner (Alexander MacLean, 17:34.4) beat St. James Area’s sixth-place runner (Marco Crispin, 17:46.4).

The Cardinal boys finished fifth as a team with 148 points, while MCW finished seventh (174), BEA took eighth (222) and North Union finished 10th (270).

Will Saari led the Cardinal boys with a time of 17:24.2, good for 18th in the 156-runner race, while Connor Artner took 20th in 17:33.6.

Tony Ortega was the third Fairmont runner to cross the finish line when he took 31st in 18:16.8, while Tyrell Zieske finished 41st in 18:33.7.

Will Niestrath was the final Cardinal contributing time with his 67th-place finish in 19:48.2, while Alex Cruz finished 77th in 20:15.9.

Blake Hilgendorf was the final Fairmont competitor with his 132nd-place finish in 23:14.4.

Bonk said he was happy with the individual performances from the Cardinal boys.

“I thought the boys did a good job,” Bonk said. “We continued our streak from all year of always being in the top half of the race. I guess that was first and foremost what we wanted to do. We were hoping to maybe get a bag of apples (for a top-four team finish). Maybe not quite as spectacular overall as the girls, but a lot of all-time best performances and I thought Tyrell Zieske in particular had a really good day. … And Will Niestrath, an eighth grader, this is his second time on varsity and he turned in a big personal best.”

Jake Lewis led the Maverick boys with a 12th-place finish in 16:59.4, while Isaiah Johnson took 45th in 18:43.3.

Riley Cole (18:47.9) and Kylar Larson (18:49.5) finished 47th and 48th, respectively, while Grant Koehnen took 71st in 19:57.4.

Todd Morrow took 94th for the Mavericks with his time of 20:47, then Nick Matejka was the final Maverick to finish when he took 99th in 21:12.9.

Grant Strukel led the BEA boys with his time of 17:18.4, good for 15th, while Angel Martinez finished 58th in 19:15.7.

Cameron Germain ran a time of 20:42 for the Bucs, placing him 90th, while Damion Mahlstedt finished 117th in 22:13.4.

Nate Phippen took 127th for BEA with a time of 22:52.8, Nick Blum placed 134th in 23:23, then James Greeg ran a 24:24 for 142nd.

Shane Levenhagen (25:54.3) placed 150th and Eli Paz (29:08.4) finished 156th.

Nick Schiltz led the Warrior boys with his 37th-place finish in 18:24.5, while Trevor Kruse took 75th in 20:14.8.

Gage Madden was the next Warrior boy to hit the chute when he finished 104th in 21:25.3, then Chase Cummins took 137th in 23:42.8. Shawn Odegaad was the final North Union boy with his time of 24:18, good for 140th.

Josiah DeMaris led the Jayhawk boys with a 73rd-place finish in 20:05.3, while Jacob Moeller (20:45.8) finished 93rd and Luke Kester (23:14.1) took 131st.

Worthington’s Adam Koller (16:03.4) finished first overall ahead of returning champion Jett Oachs (16:13.3) of Mankato East. Worthington’s Christian Lietz (16:21.3) finished third, Mankato East’s Andrew Johnson (16:22.2) took fourth and Belle Plaine’s Drew Hastings (16:24.3) finished fifth.

The Cardinals and Bucs hit the course at the BEA invite at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday at Riverside Town and Country Golf Course. The Jayhawks and Mavericks run again at the Jayhawk Invite at 4 p.m. in Madelia next Thursday. The Warriors run at Lake Mills at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

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