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GOLD RUSH

Gael girls repeat as NCC cross country champs

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla: The St. Edmond girls cross country team celebrates its North Central Conference title on Tuesday in Goldfield. For more photos, please visit CU.messengernews.net

GOLDFIELD — Michaela Leiting has now been a part of two straight North Central Conference championships for St. Edmond.

Winning with all seven runners in the Top-25 here on Tuesday was a special way to repeat.

The Gaels finished with 61 team points, seeing four finish in the Top-15 en route to their second straight conference championship.

“Winning the NCC meet feels amazing, and to do it two times in a row means so much to this program,” Leiting said. “This meet definitely showed how important every single runner is.

“It’s awesome to see three girls in the Top-10 and all seven in the Top-25.”

Clear Lake (64) was second with freshman Addison Doughan winning the individual crown. Humboldt (74) was third, followed by Iowa Falls-Alden/AGWSR (92), Algona (110), Hampton-Dumont (120), Webster City (189) and Clarion-Goldfield-Dows (232).

“We have been close with Clear Lake all year, and Humboldt just had a great meet,” said SEHS head coach Mike Szalat. “It’s special to win every year you can because every group has a unique story. I knew there was an opportunity for this group to be conference champs, even though we don’t necessarily set out to win the meet.

“Winning it last year changed things. We wanted to do it with this group.”

Sophomores Michaela Leiting (21:28), Hannah Landwehr (21:43) and freshman Ellie Knox (21:58) had the top spots for the Gaels, claiming seventh, eighth and ninth spots, respectively.

Junior Anna Kolacia (22:58) was 15th and sophomore Reese Lemberg (23:17) crossed in 22nd.

“This was a team win. They did what they needed to do,” Szalat said. “We just came out and ran the way we needed to and didn’t try to do things that we’re not capable of doing.

“We had the best sixth runner in the field, and in a close race like this, it’s huge.”

Seniors Caroline Shelly (23:17) and Gracie Harvey (23:31) were 23rd and 25th for the Gaels.

Algona junior Moriah Knapp (20:21) took fourth. Teammate Eliza Schultz rounded out the Top-10 in 22:09.

Humboldt placed five runners in the top-21 and four in the top-16. Joslyn Orr (22:23) and Allison Hoag (22:48) were 11th and 12th, while Kinzie Peyton (22:54) and Meg Zweibohmer (23:01) were 14th and 16th, respectively. Grace Smith (23:11) was 21st.

Webster City’s top performance came from Emma Peck (23:02), who was 17th.

The Gaels are back in action next Thursday when they compete in a Class 1A district meet at Holstein.

“This meet is a great way to start as we head into the next couple of weeks,” Leiting said. “This championship is definitely a confidence booster as we look forward to big things at districts.”

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