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It felt more like July than September for the runners from the 13 teams that descended on Hok-Si-La Community Park on Sept. 17 for the annual Lake City Cross Country Invitational.

Temperatures pushed into the upper 80s with bright sunshine and only slightly lower humidity offered some respite on the afternoon. La Crescent-Hokah’s girls placed a solid fourth, while the boys finished runners-up to the Lake City Tigers for the second straight meet.

After losing the Rochester Mayo meet from their schedule because of inclement weather, the Lancers were competing for the first time in 12 days since their own Crazy Buffalo Invitational.

Lydia Rosendahl spearheaded the La Crescent-Hokah effort on the girls’ side with a ninth place finish in 21 minutes, 8 seconds over the flat 5,000-meter course. Despite not being 100% healthy, senior Katy Steffes was able to hang with her sophomore teammate for the opening two-thirds of the race before falling off slightly to place 12th in 21:24.

Ashley Muenzenberger was 20th in 22:06, and Autumn Rabe was 24th in 22:16 in the 62-runner field, then Emma Stavenau finished off the LC-H effort with a 46th place finish in 25:57 as the Lancers ran with only five athletes.

Their total of 105 points were well behind Stewartville’s winning total of 50 and Lake City’s runner-up total of 52 but fell just behind Class AA Austin Sr. High’s 100-point third-place effort, as 10 teams had enough finishers to post a team score.

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It became clear in the early going that the team race on the boys side would wind up as a battle between the Lancers and Tigers for the second straight meet.

As with their meeting of 12 days earlier, La Crescent-Hokah became the first team with four finishers in the chute with Jake Boudreau sixth in 17:11, Thomas Lechnir eighth in 17:23, Camdan Nolop ninth at 17:26 and Cody Kowalski 11th at 17:46 in the 80-runner field.

Unfortunately for the Lancers, Lake City put two runners in the top four and their third finisher split up Boudreau and Lechnir, then the Tigers put three more runners across the finish line before Jack Redman became the Lancers fifth scoring runner when he placed 26th in 18:24.

With three runners in the top six, Lake City was able to post a winning total of 43 points to LC-H’s second place effort of 60 points. Austin Sr. High was third with 114, and defending Section 1A and Three Rivers Conference champions Plainview-Elgin-Millville was fourth with 127 points as 12 teams qualified for team scores.

In lower-level races, Austin Smith and Joey Welch continued their strong seasons by placing fourth and seventh in the junior high boys race with respective times of 12:54 and 13:02 for the 3,200-meter course.

Jazmine Cline was 10th in 14:51, and Rose Wieser 18th at 15:19 in junior high girls competition. Austin Embke was 10th in 20:00, Tyler Groth 11th in 20:01 and Ethan Franzose 18th in 20:36 in the 96-runner JV boys race to lead the Lancers to a second-place team finish behind Austin High.

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