Competing in two races just two days apart, the Colfax boys cross country team beat out 11 other teams to win the Mondovi Invite Sept. 18 while the girls were runner up behind conference rival Spring Valley in a field of eight teams. A change in the schedule had them traveling to Durand Sept. 20, and the boys again came out on top in a field of 12 teams and the girls followed suit, out running 11 other teams.
Running on the same course where the conference meet will be held Oct. 11, the boys saw their first seven runners finish in the top 20 places in a field of 122 individuals and the top five who scored points were in the 2,3,4,6 and 10th position. Lachlan Hinwood finished as the runner up behind Mondovi’s Sasha Maro, who is the defending conference champion, in a time of 17:39, which was 32 seconds behind Maro, and on Hinwood’s heels came Michael Larson at 18:10. Matthew Almquist was just 10 seconds back at 18:20 followed by Hunter Lieffort in sixth at 18:25. Jeremiah Harder and Tucker Hovde were just a second apart with Harder in the 10th spot at 18:49 and Hovde 11th at 18:50. Garrett Miller placed 17th at 19:15.
Also competing with the varsity were Zac Christianson (57th, 21:36), Daniel Schneider (62nd, 21:44), Nate Leibfried (66th, 21:52), Zach Arvold (69th, 21:55), Isaac Lee (72nd, 22:07), Joey Verdon (73rd, 22:11) and David Blanchard (112th, 26:24).
“The boys ran probably their best race so far this year,” coach Joe Doucette said. “We had a nice 1-7 spread and we looked good all the way through. It is not an easy course and we finished very well. We are focusing on improving and staying healthy right now. We run the conference meet here in 23 days and that is where we really want to do well.”
Doucette and his girls’ team knows Spring Valley will be very hard to beat at the conference and sectional meets. Their number one runner, Breanna Colbenson did not run at this meet and the Cardinals still finished 19 points ahead of the Vikings. Dempsey Fogarty won the race at 15:47 and teammate Courtney Dressel was the runner up at 16:15. Brittany Rothbauer finished in the eight spot at 17:26 and Heidi Lieffort followed in 18th at 18:08. Cruising in at 18:48 for 24th place was Kenna Breckner followed by Mallie Doucette (39th, 19:46) and Mackenzie Anderson (43rd, 20:02). There were 69 individuals in the race.
“We were afraid Spring Valley was that good,” coach Doucette said. “They beat us quite handily without Colbenson who is a Division I recruit. We were hoping we would be a bit closer to them by this time. It would take a super human effort to beat them at conference but we will fight with everything we have to defend our five straight conference titles but we only have 23 days to get better.”
The good news for the girls’ team was they actually did finish ahead of Spring Valley in this meet, but the bad news was Colbenson was the only varsity runner for the Cardinals competing. She continued to dominate by winning the competition with a time of 15:00, 48 seconds faster than runner up Fogarty while Dressel was third at 16:13. Rothbauer continues to move up and speed up as she had another top 10 finish, coming in sixth at 17:25 while Lieffort came in at 18:14 for 14th place. Breckner added team points with a 20th place at 18:39 and Doucette was 30th at 19:31 and Anderson came in at 39th in 20:10. There were 80 competitors who completed the race.
On the boys side, Hinwood always seems to have that one runner ahead of him that is just too tough to beat. In this case it was Darin Lau of Immanuel Lutheran, a third place finisher at the state meet last year, who won this one at 17:05 while Hinwood came in second at 18:00. Almquist placed sixth at 18:27 and Leiffort moved up to the third spot for the Vikings in eighth place at 18:39. Harder just missed the top ten as he placed 11th at 18:54 and Larson was 15th at 19:12 with Miller following at 19:17 in 18th while Hovde was 20th at 19:26.
Also competing were Arvold (48th, 20:57), Christianson (56th, 21:27), Lee (67th, 21:55), Schneider (76th, 22:28) and a second behind him Verdon (77th, 22;29) and Blanchard (117th, 26:53). 123 runners finished the race.
Colfax has another change in their schedule as they will not be running in Duluth Oct. 6. They will have one more meet before conference, that being at the University of Minnesota Sept. 29.