While some ancient cultures had ceremonial rain dances that they used in hope of breaking droughts, perhaps the modern version should be simply scheduling a home meet for the La Crescent-Hokah cross country team.
For the second time this fall, a Lancer home meet brought heavy morning showers that fortunately abated in time to allow for course set-up, which was completed just as the buses from St. Charles and Kingsland rolled into the Pine Creek Golf Course parking lot.
Coming into the meet having won all three of their previous meets this season, it became clear from the start that this would be the sternest test of the fall for the Lancer boys.
Although Lancer juniors Cody Kowalski and Jack Redman had finished first and second in all three of those races, it was Kingsland’s Garrison Hubka who set an early torrid pace, with Kowalski and St. Charles’ Andrew O’Hara, an individual State qualifier last season, in tow.
Those three hung together for the opening 3200 meters before O’Hara took off to cross the finish line first with a time of 17:35 over the 4,800 meter rain-sodden course.
Hubka ran 17:45 in second place, then Kowalski became the third finisher into the chute with a time of 18:07.
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Another St. Charles finisher in fourth gave the Saints an early advantage, but Redman finished fifth in 18:37 and soph Sam Culver had his usual strong finish to take seventh at 19:16.
At this stage, the Lancers were still two points in arrears of the Saints, but freshman Austin Smith and junior Tyler Groth placed ninth and 10th in 19:58 and 20:10, besting St. Charles’ fourth and fifth finishers to give the Lancers their fourth win in-a-row by a margin of 34 – 37 over the Saints, with Kingsland finish third with 57 points.
Unlike the boys race, there was little drama in the girls competition, as the Lancers were the only team able to start the requisite five runners needed to qualify for a team score.
The individual race for the girls was also never in doubt, as Lancer junior Lydia Rosendahl steadily distanced herself from the rest of the field, finishing first with a time of 20:55, over a minute-and-a-half ahead of second place.
This was Rosendahl’s second individual win of the season after taking the title at PEM in the Lancers’ opening meet.
Ashley Muenzenberger ran strongly to take third in 22:37, with Autumn Rabe just behind in fourth place at 23:00. Emma Stavenau and Julia Lechnir were eighth and ninth in 24:21 and 25:05 to account for the Lancers’ winning total of 15 points.
Even had the other two schools been able to field a complete team, it would have been mathematically impossible for either of them to have overtaken the Lancers.
La Crescent-Hokah runners also won both of the 2,600-meter Junior High races when Joey Welch out-dueled a Kingsland boy to the finish line, winning in 10:19, then Corrina Lechnir won the girls race in 11:40, with teammates Jazmine Cline in second and Rose Wieser in fourth at 12:06 and 13:39.
The Lancers will complete their regular season with meets at St. Charles on Oct. 6 and Dover-Eyota on Oct. 8. The MSHSL has given the go-ahead for a Sectional championship, but the exact dates and format is still in the planning stages.