The Lancer cross country team got its season off and running last week at the 21-team Stewartville Invitational. The boys, led by four finishers in the top nine, came home with the team title and the girls finished a solid sixth.
A moderately cool late August afternoon greeted teams at Bear Cave Park in Stewartville for the annual Bill Glomski Invitational.
The La Crescent-Hokah varsity boys stayed as a group and let a multitude of runners sprint ahead on the 5000-meter course.
After an opening 1600 meter that found none of them among the top 20 individuals, seniors Jake Boudreau, Camdan Nolop, and Thomas Lechnir and sophomore Cody Kowalski started a major move in the middle of the race and by the 3200 meter mark had all moved into the top 10.
Slightly farther back, senior Bryce Duffy and sophomore Jack Redman were staging their own battle to see who would become the Lancers’ fifth finisher.
Over the final 1800 meters, Boudreau mounted a strong finish and moved into second behind eventual race winner Symon Keiser of Jordan.
While Keiser won the race in 17:36, Boudreau became the only other runner to break 18 minutes, taking second in 17:59. Nolop and Kowalski finished sixth and seventh in 18:33 and 18:35, then Lechnir was just five seconds back in ninth place.
Needing a fifth finisher to compete their score, Redman flew past a host of runners over the final third of the race to place 23rd in 19:23 to account for the Lancers final score of 47 points, well ahead of Byron, which took second with 118, and the Rochester Area Association of Christian Education Jaguars with 121.
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Duffy and Nick Wieser were the final two varsity finishers for the Lancers in 45th and 66th place with times of 20:08 and 20:39.
In the girls varsity race, senior Katy Steffes and sophomore Lydia Rosendahl established themselves in the upper part of the 150-runner field and moved up steadily for the entire race.
Rosendahl finished 12th with a time of 22:15 and Steffes was just one spot behind her teammate in 22:21.
Freshman Autumn Rabe moved up well during the final third of the race and cracked the top 20 with a 19th place finish in 22:41.
After running strongly for the first half of the race, junior Ashley Muenzenberger faded slightly, but held on to place 30th in 23:58.
Freshman Emma Stavenau became the Lancers’ fifth finisher when she ran 27:47 to place 97th, with soph Bridget Fuchsel ran 29:38 and senior Makenna Vickery 30:54 in her first race ever to complete the Lancer varsity effort.
Their total of 155 points placed them sixth of the 16 compete teams, with Jordan getting the win with 70 points of the host Stewartville’s second place total of 74 and the RAACHE Jaguars third at 79.
If JV competition, freshman Ethan Franzose took home the individual champion’s trophy by running 21:33, with fellow frosh Sam Culver in 7th and Jack Kreutzman in 10th. Austin Smith took second in the Junior High 1600 meter race in 5:55 and seventh grader Joey Welch was fourth in 6:04.