MANSON - Not even excessive heat and windy conditions could deny Jaclyn Rittgers of a three-peat at the annual Cougar Invitational Thursday evening.
The Prairie Valley senior cross country star earned another meet title by clocking a winning mark of 16:13. Southeast Webster-Grand's Emma Luhmann (16:44) repeated as runner-up, while Mary Eide (17:46) of St. Edmond settled for third.
As a direct result of Rittgers' 10th career triumph, the Warriors secured top honors in the team race with 50 points. Next in line were St. Edmond (53) and South Central Calhoun (99).
Messenger photo by Doug Dornath
Jaclyn Rittgers of Prairie Valley races to the girls title Thursday in Manson. For more photos, please visit CU at www.messengernews.net
"Being a senior, it means a little more to win (the Cougar Invitational) this year," said Rittgers, who was also a runner-up here as a freshman. "This (Manson) course has always been one of my favorites because it's so flat.
"I'm a lot more experienced now, and my goal is to keep improving and finish in the top five in the state. I also think our team has the work ethic to get to state this season."
Other top showings for the Warriors came from Katie Clough (5th, 18:33), Hannah Miller (13th, 19:32), Kate Dyer (14th, 19:33) and Anna Heatherington (17th, 19:55).
(Thursday's results at Manson)
Girls Team Standings
1. Prairie Valley, 50; 2. St. Edmond, 53; 3. South Central Calhoun, 99; 4. Ridge View, 138; 5. Manson Northwest Webster, 145.
Girls Top-10 Individuals
1. Jaclyn Rittgers, PV, 16:13; 2. Emma Luhmann, Southeast Webster-Grand, 16:44; 3. Mary Eide, SE, 17:46; 4. Mady Dick, SCC, 17:56; 5. Katie Clough, PV,18:33; 6. Michaela Graffunder, SCC, 18:38; 7. Tess Richardson, SCC, 19:06; 8. Katelyn Thompson, MNW, 19:11; 9. Jill Doyle, SE, 19:19; 10. Madi Reel, SE, 19:24.
St. Edmond - 3. Mary Eide, SE, 17:46; 9. Jill Doyle, SE, 19:19; 10. Madi Reel, 19:24; 15. Kara Salinas, 19:40; 16. Mary-Claire Li, 19:55; 21. Cassie Sells, 20:30; 22. Theresa Birzer, 20:32; 23. Alexis Perrin, 20:36; 28. Carter Waddell, 21:06; 29. Leah Cosgrove, 21:15; 34. Sarah Benjamin, 22:19; 35. Maddie McCarville, 22:28; 37. Rachael Willerth, 22:58.
Prairie Valley - 1. Jaclyn Rittgers, 16:13; 5. Katie Clough, 18:33; 13. Hannah Miller, 19:32; 14. Kate Dyer, 19:33; 17. Anna Heatherington, 19:55.
South Central Calhoun - 4. Mady Dick, 17:56; 6. Michaela Graffunder, 18:38; 7. Tess Richardson, 19:06; 40. Tabitha Ferguson, 24:09; 42. Maria Dischler, 25:05.
Manson Northwest Webster - 8. Katelyn Thompson, 19:11; 31. Angel Thornton, 21:27; 32. Jordan Schreier, 21;35; 33. Jocelyn Keller, 22:12; 41. Autumn Martin, 24:24.
"I was extremely pleased with how our girls did," PVHS head coach Travis Nuss said. "Coming in, I didn't know too much about the other teams, but I thought we had a pretty good shot at doing well."
In addition to Eide picking up bronze, the Gaels - who previously won the 2010 and 2011 Cougar Invitationals - were represented by sophomore Jill Doyle (9th, 19:19), freshman Madi Reel (10th, 19:24), sophomore Kara Salinas (15th, 19:40) and junior Mary-Claire Li (16th, 19:55).
"I feel a lot better about our girls now than I did before (Thursday)," said SEHS head coach Mike Szalat. "We know (this season) will be a process, and we'll worry more about our speed as the year moves on."
Finishing in the Top-10 for South Central Calhoun were Mady Dick (4th, 17:56), Michaela Graffunder (6th, 18:38) and Tess Richardson (7th, 19:06).
Manson Northwest Webster's Katelyn Thompson (8th, 19:11) and Lydia Anderson (11th, 19:29) of East Sac County led the way for each of their programs.