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Martin County West runs to 2nd, 3rd at Valley Conference Meet

1-2 SHOWING — Martin County West runners Katie Hartke (left) and Katelynn Kennedy match each other stride-for-stride during Tuesday’s Valley Conference cross country race at Fox Lake Golf Course outside of Sherburn. Hartke and Kennedy netted the Mavericks’ top two times. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)

SHERBURN — Martin County West’s youthful running trio of Katie Hartke, Katelynn Kennedy and Liz Peterson produced top-six times to power the hometown Mavericks to runner-up girls team honors at Tuesday’s Valley Conference cross country meet.

Grace Moeller completed the 5,000-meter course at Fox Lake Golf Club in a winning time of 20:09.1 to steer the Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial/Nicollet Knight Raiders to a first-place girls team showing of 28 points — only nine ahead of host MCW’s second-place mark.

“Less than 10 points from first in the girls’ race, so we’ll take it,” said Maverick head coach Stannetta Svoboda, who does not have a junior or senior on her long-distance roster in 2021.

Hartke, who’s only a sophomore, captured runner-up individual accolades by posting a time of 20:51.8 for MCW, while Kennedy — an eighth-grader — inched ahead of teammate Peterson just before the chute for fifth place overall, 23:25.6-23:26.3, respectively. Peterson, a sophomore, placed sixth overall as all three earned all-Valley Conference first-team honors for their top-10 finishes.

“It’s our only home meet of the season, so it’s nice to place second in the team competition,” said Hartke, who joined her MCW teammates in writing the word ‘Believe’ on their hand for inspiration during the hilly race.

Eighth-grader Jocelyn Schmidtke ran a time of 25:02.9 to claim 11th place overall for the Mavericks, while Maddison Lyon completed the host team’s counting scores with a time of 26:09.0 to net 15th individually.

Hannah Cole (26:47.8, 16th overall), Sydney Borntrager (27:58.5, 18th), Jazlyn Trueblood (30:36.0, 24th) and Teya Schmidtke (34:01.0, 26th) rounded out MCW’s girls’ effort.

Madelia/Truman/Granada-Huntley-East Chain sophomore Ella Bergeman earned all-conference honors by placing eighth overall in 23:58.7. Bergeman was the lone Jayhawk girls runner to compete.

Mankato Loyola/Cleveland placed third in the girls team standings with 62.

In the Valley Conference boys’ race, Jayhawks’ freshman Josiah DeMaris and Mavericks’ junior Jamesson Forsberg dueled for top individual accolades as MCW and MT/GHEC finished third and fourth, respectively, in the team points standings.

DeMaris, who captured the bronze medal with a third-place showing in the 2020 league meet, struck gold by crossing the 5K finish line with a winning time of 17:20.2.

“I didn’t really know how far or how close he (Forsberg) was to me coming down the stretch, but I know he has a good kick and I needed to keep my pace,” said DeMaris.

Forsberg claimed the silver medal by posting a second-place time of 17:35.1, while Ethan Anderson netted third individually with an 18:33.2 to pace LCWM/Nicollet’s first-place boys team finish of 37. Nathan Strobel finished fourth overall in 18:41.9 to pace Mankato Loyola/Cleveland’s second-place team rate of 42.

DeMaris and Forsberg earned all-conference honors with their respective 1-2 individual showings.

Grant Koehnen placed 12th overall with a time of 19:40.4 to garner second on MCW’s team behind Forsberg, Riley Cole ran a 19:48.2 to claim 15th individually, Connor Pope posted a time of 21:00.5 to take 25th overall, while Nick Matejka completed the host team’s counting marks in 28th individually with a 21:43.9.

David Taylor (22:05.8, 31st), Josh Miller (22:14.9, 32nd), Hayden O’Connor (25:58.3, 36th) and Jonah Striemer (30:09.2, 37th) rounded out the Mavericks’ performance.

Isaac Bergeman captured 17th overall with a time of 19:53.8 to place second on the Jayhawks’ roster to DeMaris’ winning mark, while Ryan Koberoski took 22nd individually with a time of 20:14.7.

Jacob Moeller netted 29th overall by crossing the finish line in 21:43.9, while Brayden Grev generated a time of 22:05.5 to net 30th individually in capping the Jayhawks’ counting marks.

Tate Becker (23:25.7, 33rd), Cross Schmidt (24:30.7, 34th) and Tony Zaleski (24:50.2, 35th) completed the Jayhawks’ effort at the league competition.

The Mavericks and Jayhawks compete in the Section 2A Meet at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, at Riverside Town & Country Club near Blue Earth.

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