Ohhhhh, so close
LEMARS – With senior Brooke Egeland winning the Lakes Conference individual title, the Estherville Lincoln Central/Armstrong-Ringsted girls cross country team nearly surprised rival Spirit Lake.
For the third time in the history of Lakes Conference meet, two teams finished tied after the first five placewinners from each squad crossed the line.
The two previous times the tiebreaker-where the sixth runner finished-was in ELCAR’s favor.
On Monday, Spirit Lake had the edge as the Indians won their third straight conference title.
Spirit Lake runners finished, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15 and ELCAR finished 1, 7, 10, 11, 17 to tie with 46 points. However, the Indians’ sixth runner finished 16th ahead of ELCAR’s sixth runner, who finished 19th.
ELCAR coach Tina Burton was far from disappointed on her team’s finish.
“I was super excited about Brooke and felt all seven runners ran a very smart race,” she said. “Brooke didn’t get ahead of her self and ran a gutsy and smart race.”
Egeland finished in 16 minutes, 31 seconds. The top 14 runners earn all-conference honors and three other ELCAR runners earned that honor.
Senior Traci Speltz finished seventh in 16:56 with freshmen Mackenzie Woodyard and Paige Taylor finishing 10th and 11th, respectively, with times of 17:08 and 17:17.
“Traci ran a good race,” said Burton. “Paige and Mackenzie, though freshmen, went out after it. That wanted to see if they could be all-conference.”
Bailey Raska was ELCAR’s fifth runner finishing in 17:55.
Alyssa Ayers finished 19th in 18:1 and Ashley Stinar was 24th in 18:22.
“Alyssa and Ashley also stepped up and went out to win it,” said Burton.
The ELCAR varsity starts the postseason on Thursday as the team travels to Spencer for the Class 3A Regional Meet.
With only two runners, ELCAR did what it could at the Lakes Conference meet.
Senior jay Smith, out for his first season, finished 30th overall in 19:38. Freshman teammate Martin Christensen finished 41st in 21:15.
“Both guys set goals,” said Burton. “For Jay, I think he’s still trying to figure cross country out and I wish we’d had him longer.”
ELCAR JV girls
The junior varsity girls race mirrored the varsity or vice versa as the JV ran first.
ELCAR senior Krista Pelzer won the race in 18:27 to lead the JV to a second-place finish with 59 points. LeMars won with 52 points followed by Western Christian with 66 and Spirit Lake with 68.
“Krista ran a strong for her last race,” said Burton. “She’s been out for six years and went out to run her best race and she did that.”
Melissa Gjerde finished third in 19:02 followed by Samantha Natterstad in fifth in 19:16. Kayla Bortvit finished 24th in 22:04 and Molly Wittmer was 26th in 22:41.