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Fairmont runners improve times; place 1st, 2nd at triangular

Laura Thompson

ST. PETER — Fairmont head cross country coach Bob Bonk challenged his Cardinal runners to literally pick up the pace during Thursday’s triangular clash against the Waseca Bluejays and the host St. Peter Saints.

Class A No. 10-ranked Laura Thompson and her No. 7-rated Fairmont teammates, along with Connor Artner and his fellow Cardinal harriers, heeded their legendary mentor’s words.

Thompson and Macy Hanson generated a respective 2-3 scoring punch to power Fairmont to a 27-35 margin of victory over Waseca, while St. Peter placed third with 73.

Thompson, who posted a 5K time of 19:55 during her previous three-team competition on the St. Peter High School campus’ course, earned runner-up honors behind Waseca’s Ellie Dufault with an impressive time of 19:18.

“The girls improved to 10-0 on the pandemic-shortened season, and turned in a great performance today to beat a quality program in Waseca,” said Bonk. “In fact, every runner on both the girls and boys teams improved their times from when we ran on this same course three weeks ago.”

Hanson crossed the finish line in third place overall for the Cardinal girls in a time of 20:05, while teammates Ellie Ortega and Tabitha Thatcher netted sixth and seventh places, respectively. Ellie Ortega produced a time of 21:14, while Thatcher ran a 21:15.

Hannah Neusch claimed ninth overall for Fairmont by crossing the finish line in 21:40 to complete the team’s counting scores.

Carys Gudahl and Eleanor Hamlet delivered 11th and 12th places, respectively. Carys Gudahl ran a 22:02, while Hamlet garnered a time of 22:15.

Emma Gudahl and Sara Sundblad rounded out the Cardinal girls’ winning effort by placing 14th and 15th, respectively. Emma Gudahl logged a time of 23:11, while Sundblad posted a 23:25.

In the boys’ competition, Connor Artner and Will Saari produced a fourth- and sixth-place showing, respectively, to pace Fairmont’s runner-up team total of 43. Waseca coasted to the boys team victory with 18, while host St. Peter placed third at 63.

Connor Artner, who covered the course in 18:15 three weeks ago, produced a time of 17:40 to top the Cardinals’ runner-up triangular showing.

Saari, who missed the last meet in St. Peter due to an injury, finished in 18:00 to pocket sixth overall and second on Fairmont’s lineup.

Will Niestrath finished 36 seconds behind Saari to claim eighth place overall, Ben Moeller nailed down 12th place in 19:45, while Gavin Artner delivered a time of 19:59 to garner 13th overall in capping the Cardinals’ counting scores.

Sebastian Castro entered the chute at 20:47 to pocket 16th overall for Fairmont, while Ethan Grunewald claimed 17th place in 20:55. Cooper Gudahl and Parker Vetter completed the red-and-white’s performance. Gudahl netted 19th overall in 21:26, while Vetter chipped in a 22nd-place time of 22:37.

Complete individual results from the meet were not available at press time.

The Fairmont cross country teams were scheduled to compete in the Big South Conference Meet on Saturday, Oct. 10, in Redwood Falls, and then in the Section 2A Meet on Tuesday, Oct. 13, in Montgomery.

Unfortunately, after the rising numbers of active COVID-19 tests in Martin County, Fairmont High School will switch to all distance learning and hold no extracurricular activities for two weeks, beginning on Monday, under orders issued by the Minnesota Department of Health.

“If today was our final meet of the season, I’m very proud of the effort that all of our runners put in for us,” said Bonk.

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