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A bittersweet day for Spirit Lake

By Staff | Nov 4, 2008

Spirit Lake’s Megan Skalbeck (293), Mary Brown (297) and Briana Brunsvold kept their pack together in the final quarter mile of Saturday’s race at the Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge. EDN photo by David Swartz

FORT DODGE – The Spirit Lake Girls Cross Country team ended the season with its best-ever finish at the state meet with a fourth-place effort on Saturday.

However finishing three points away from third-place Wilton, the Indians’ day was aptly described as “bittersweet” by coach Tim Heinitz.

Wilton finished with 152 points while Spirit Lake ended with 155. On the plus side, the Indians finished a point ahead of fifth-place Regina.

“Three points is not a lot in this big of meet,” said Heinitz. “The girls ran well, but not great.”

Four members of the state qualifying team are seniors, who ran in their final race for the Indians including lead runners Abby Gustafson, who finished in 16 minutes, 7 seconds and Carrie Emgarten ran clocked in at 16:17.

Junior Mary Brown finished in 16:29 while senior Megan Skalbeck finished in 16:31 and sophomore Briana Brunsvold in 16:32.

Rounding out the team were senior Erin Lynn in 17:36 and junior Chelsea Parks in 18:20.

Overall placing for the teams were 34, 40, 54, 57, 59, 106, 117. Displacement scoring, which discards the places of individual qualifiers to come up with the team scores, were 18, 23, 36, 38, 40, 86, 96. Top five scores are added together to arrive at the team score.

Heinitz will miss his four seniors.

“They’ve all been a part of building our program,” he said. “That’s why we are where we’re at in cross country. It makes it all the harder to miss third by just a few points.”

The top three teams are honored at the awards ceremony at state.

“The seniors all had great seasons and great careers and I hope they look back on it with fond memories,” Heinitz said.