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Gael girls give a glimpse of the future

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Michaela Leiting competes for St. Edmond on Monday in Humboldt. For more photos, please visit CU.messengernews.net

HUMBOLDT — Looking down the road, Mike Szalat sees a bright future ahead for his St. Edmond girls cross country team.

On Monday at the Humboldt Invitational, the Gaels were third as a squad. Their top three individual runners were all from the freshman class.

The Gaels finished with 125 points and three runners in the Top-20. All five counting competitors were in the Top-40.

“After the meet, I had someone ask me how are girls were able to finish the race so strong,” Szalat said. “They have good training methods, and they are mentally tough. Then I pointed to my chest and said, ‘they also have a lot of heart.’

“This group has a bright future ahead. Great work ethic, and I admire what’s on the inside.”

Gilbert won the title with 87 points, while Woodbury Central was second.

Manson Northwest Webster (197) took fifth, followed by Humboldt (204), Algona (219), and Emmetsburg (227) rounded out the area teams in the Top-10. Fort Dodge (312) was 13th.

Freshman Michaela Leiting (22:05) earned a sixth-place showing, running a personal best time. Classmate Hannah Landwehr (22:34) also ran a personal best in 12th place.

Freshman Reese Lemberg crossed in 30th.

“Michaela is starting to figure some things out,” Szalat said. “She is a mentally tough kid. Hannah is starting to close the gap as well.”

Senior Kelli Kersten (24:14) was 39th, and classmate Jacey Ash (24:41) took 48th. The Gaels were able to pack their runners together, as junior Caroline Shelly (24:45) was 49th and senior Sydney Schulte (25:14) logged 56th.

“One through seven, I like where our girls are sitting,” Szalat said. “Sydney finished as the second best No. 7 runner in the meet.”

Manson Northwest Webster senior Maddie Moline admits she struggled in the first couple of meets, but now is starting to find her rhythm.

“I feel really good about this season, and I’m excited for the next month of competing,” Moline said. “I got a rough start with the first two meets, but I finally feel like I’m back in a groove.”

Moline (21:37) finished third behind Hampton-Dumont’s Lydia Maas (20:41). Ellie Meyer was the individual champion, crossing the tape in 19:39.

“The race went really well for both the team and myself,” Moline said. “Humboldt is a difficult course, and the times are never great, but I always enjoy running in different scenery.”

The Cougars took fifth, as Presley Oswald (22:31) crossed in 11th and Peggy Condon (23:59) took 34th.

West Bend-Mallard senior Julia Fehr (22:35) was 13th, while Algona’s Moriah Knapp (22:35) earned 14th.

Rounding out the Top-20 from the area was Eagle Grove’s Lea Friedl (16th in 23:10), Emmetsburg’s Izzy Householder (18th in 23:14), West Bend-Mallard’s Rachel Fehr (19th in 23:21) and Algona’s Carley Mullins (20th in 23:25).

Fort Dodge senior Alexis Read (24:38) was the top Dodger, crossing in 47th place. Classmate Isabel Beekman (24:49) was 51st.

Rounding out the counting runners for the Dodgers were senior Maddie Daniel (73rd 26:43), freshman Dari Cook (83rd in 27:17) and junior Hannah Drummond (84th 27:18).

“This was a tough course, and I think you will see our girls times start to drop as we go on,” said FDSH head coach Joe Jackson. “The drops usually come around Algona, our home meet and the conference meet.

“Then you will see all of their hard work start to pay off and we will shave some more time.”

The Gaels and Dodgers are back in action on Monday at Algona.

Girls Team Standings

1. Gilbert 87; 2. Woodbury Central 93; 3. St. Edmond 125; 4. Garner-Hayfield-Ventura 192; 5. Manson Northwest Webster 197; 6. Humboldt 204; 7. Algona 219; 8. Nevada 225; 9. Emmetsburg 227; 10. Iowa Falls-Alden 255; 11. Pocahontas Area 293; 12. West Bend-Mallard 306; 13. Fort Dodge 312; 14. Webster City 314; 15. West Hancock 357; 16. Boone 394; 17. Clear Lake 396; 18. Clarion-Goldfield/Dows 422.

Girls Top 10 Individual Performers

1. Ellie Meyer, Iowa Falls-Alden, 19:39; 2. Lydia Maas, Hampton-Dumont/CAL, 20:41; 3. Maddie Moline, Manson Northwest Webster, 21:37; 4. Erika Kuntz, Woodbury Central, 21:58; 5. Abby Christians, Garner-Hayfield-Ventura, 22:04; 6. Michaela Leiting, St. Edmond, 22:05; 7. Tori Meinecke, Nevada, 22:06; 8. Teah Miller, Iowa Falls-Alden, 22:20; 9. Sophie Vanderpool, Gilbert, 22:22; 10. Abby McGuire, Gilbert, 22:24.

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