Thompson, Artner power Fairmont cross country teams to sweep
ST. PETER — The Fairmont Cardinals took home a boys and girls team sweep after their first cross country meet on the campus of the “new” St. Peter High School.
The Cardinal girls topped St. Peter in the points race 19-53, while the Fairmont boys edged the Saints 28-29 during Big South Conference action Thursday in St. Peter.
Laura Thompson once again topped the individual girls standings with her 5K run of 19:55, while Fairmont teammate Macy Hanson claimed second with a time of 20:50. The Cardinals’ Tabitha Thatcher claimed third with a time of 21:42.
“Any time you can score under 20 in a triangular, you have to feel good about it,” Cardinal head coach Bob Bonk said. “That one-two-three punch continues. No one from another school has beat any of those three this year.”
Hannah Neusch was the next Cardinal runner to cross, finishing sixth in 22:10, before Ellie Ortega rounded out the Fairmont scoring times with her seventh-place finish in 22:43.
Eleanor Hamlet (22:53), Carys Gudahl (23:12) and new varsity competitor — seventh-grader Samantha Domeier (23:24) — finished eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively, for the Cardinals.
“We had a little different order than we normally do,” Bonk said. “But that’s good for the team. Battling for positions. This was the first time Samantha Domeier ran up with the big girls and she did a really nice job.”
Emma Gudahl was next, finishing 11th in 23:41, followed by Sara Sundblad in 12th at 24:26. Lily Higgins (25:23) finished 15th, Olivia Ortega (28:11) took 19th, Bethany Thatcher finished 20th in 29:56 and Riley Lingl took 24th in 30:21. Angelica Kerekes finished 25th in 31:17 for the final Cardinal time.
Eloise Blair led the Blue Earth Area Buc girls with a 16th-place finish in 26:33.
Connor Artner captured his first win of the season, taking gold in the 5K race with a time of 18:15 to pace the Cardinals’ team triumph.
Because of a sore Achilles tendon, Will Saari — one of the Cardinals’ top runners — did not run, leaving the younger Fairmont runners to step up.
And step up they did.
Will Niestrath took second overall with a time of 19:20, while Gavin Artner sprinted down the final stretch to place sixth in 20:35.
Ben Moeller gave the Cardinals their fourth counting time with a seventh-place finish in 20:47, while Ethan Grunewald gave Fairmont its final points with a 12th-place spot in 20:47.
Landon Weber was the next Cardinal to hit the chute, placing 16th in 22:49, while Selvin Forsythe was close behind in 17th at 22:46.
Out of the second heat, which left three minutes after the first, Sebastian Castro ran a time of 22:01 for Fairmont. Parker Vetter finished in 23:32, Landon Pederson finished in 29:14 and Alex Kastning hit the chute in 33:38.
“Will Niestrath really came through big time,” Bonk said. “Just two weeks ago, two St. Peter boys beat him and this week if you switch around second and third, then St. Peter would have beat us. He was a key, along with Connor coming in first. We didn’t want to risk anything with Will (Saari), he has a sore Achilles, so having the other guys step up was wonderful.”
Angel Martinez led the Buc boys with a 10th-place finish, while Cameron Germain was close behind in 11th.
Fairmont and Blue Earth Area both compete against Jackson County Central on Friday, Sept. 18, in a 4:30 p.m. Big South Conference triangular meet at Riverside Town & Country Club north of Blue Earth.