Gaels, area target state cross country

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla: Michaela Leiting of St. Edmond competes in Humboldt during the regular season.

HOLSTEIN — The St. Edmond girls cross country team has enjoyed some terrific accomplishments this season, but there are a couple more goals they would like to check off.

The North Central Conference champion Gaels will compete in a Class 1A state qualifying meet here on Thursday and attempt to continue their state-meet streak.

Girls action begins at 4 p.m., with the boys running at 4:30.

The fifth-ranked Gael girls have clinched seven straight state appearances at Lakeside.

“At districts, we are running more for place and not necessarily for time,” said veteran SEHS head coach Mike Szalat. “The Top-10 (individuals) go to state and the top two teams. Manson (Northwest Webster) is going to be good and Sioux Central has been coming on strong.

“We are going to have to run well. We’re prepared to do that.”

Also competing in Holstein will be Akron-Westfield, Alta-Aurelia, LeMars Gehlen, Harris-Lake Park, HMS, Hinton, Lawton-Bronson, Missouri Valley, MMCRU, Ridge View, Sioux Central, Siouxland Christian, South O’Brien, Remsen St. Mary’s, Trinity, Westwood Sloan and Woodbine.

On the girls’ side, Manson Northwest Webster’s Preslie Oswald is the 28th-ranked runner.

The seventh-rated Gael boys will be aiming for their second straight state berth. St. Edmond’s Aaron Lursen is rated 27th individually.

“It should be a three-team race (on the boys side) with us Missouri Valley and Woodbine,” Szalat said. “Woodbine beat us at Holstein earlier this year. We have never faced Missouri Valley.

“I like our chances with the way we’ve been running. Aaron (Lursen) and Liam Shannon have had some really strong races.”

This will be a familiar course for the Gaels.

“We usually run here every year for the Ridge View meet,” Szalat said. “I feel we have pretty deep teams on both sides, top to bottom.

“Our six and seven runners have to get ahead of some of the (opposition’s) four and five runners and help us out. Our kids have been coached that way, and we need a team effort like we’ve received in the past.”

Bishop Garrigan and West Bend-Mallard will compete in the 1A meet in Mason City, hosted by Mason City Newman.

Southeast Valley hosts a Class 2A meet in Gowrie. Joining the Jaguars will be Clarinda, Clear Lake, Des Moines Christian, East Sac County, Grundy Center, Pocahontas Area, Red Oak, Shenandoah, South Central Calhoun, Treynor, Underwood, Van Meter and Woodward-Granger.

The Jaguars are coming off of a Twin Lakes Conference team championship. Cooper Nuss was the individual gold medalist, and teammate Oscar Hanson was the runner up.

Clarion-Goldfield-Dows/CAL and Eagle Grove will compete in a 2A meet, hosted by Dike-New Hartford. Emmetsburg will be in Orange City.


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