La Crescent-Hokah’s cross country teams got the October portion of their schedule off on the right foot last Thursday when the Lancer boys toppled a fifteen-team field to post their second invitational win on the season. Meanwhile, the girls had their strongest showing in years when they managed a fourth place finish.

The cooler temps that greeted the large field of runners at Lewiston’s Country Club must have agreed with the Lancers’ top runners. Juniors Thomas Lechnir, Jake Boudreau, and Camdan Nolop stalked the lead pack most of the race and by the end of the 5000 meter race, those three had moved into 7th, 8th, and 9th place entering the chute, Lechnir in 17:48, Boudreau in 17:49, and Nolop in 17:57. With the host Lewiston-Altura/Rushford-Peterson team having race winner Luke O’Hare, plus their second runner in 5th place, the hopes for a Lancer win would depend on the depth of their team.

Freshman Cody Kowalski moved up strongly over the final half of the race to finish 14th in 18:10, then junior Bryce Duffy was just three places behind in 18:23 to complete the Lancer scoring. For good measure, senior Dane McCormick was just one second and one place behind Duffy to push valuable points on other teams. When the team scores were tabulated, the Lancers’ 55 point total had bettered the host LARP runner-up score of 61. Byron’s 98 points put them in third, with Stewartville fourth at 110 over the rest of the 13 complete and 2 incomplete teams.

Down to just six senior-high runners due to injury, La Crescent-Hokah’s girls surprised many teams with their efforts last week. In a field of well over 100 runners, freshman Lydia Rosendahl and junior Katy Steffes came extremely close to top ten finishes, with Rosendahl settling for 11th in 21:34 and Steffes 12th in 21:36. Soph Ashley Muenzenberger placed 25th in 22:27 and senior Molly Franzose was 41st at 23:05. Freshman Julia Lechnir became the Lancers’ fifth finisher, running 25:44 for 74th place and wrapping up the scoring efforts, while classmate Bridget Fuchsel placed 94th in 27:14.

Stewartville had a strong winning total of 45 points and an improving Rochester Lourdes team took second with 69. Byron was third with 104 and the surprise Lancers took fourth with a 139 point effort, just two points better than fifth place Chatfield, as seven more complete and three incompletes followed the top five.

In lower-level races, Austin Embke and Tyler Groth finished first and third at 19:21 and 20:01 in boys JV action. Eighth-graders Nick Wieser and Ethan Franzose finished third and fourth in 12:13 and 12:28 for the 3200 meter Jr High boys race. Jack Kreutzman was 19th in 13:34, Austin Smith 23rd in 14:01, and Wyatt Farrell 31st in 14:19 as the young Lancers finished in second, just three points behind La Crosse Logan Middle School’s winning total of 69 points. In Jr High girls action, Gracie Van Lin placed fifth in 14:23 and Autumn Rabe sixth in 14:24, while Emma Stavenau’s 16th place effort in 15:46, Olivia Seidel’s 16:15 for 23rd place and Izzy Von Arx’ 39th place finish in 19:08 spring-boarded the Lancer girls to a team win over Cochrane-Fountain City with 41 points.

The Lancers ran at United South Central this past Thursday and will be returning to Lewiston on Tuesday, October 16, for the Three Rivers Conference Cross Country Championships at 4 p.m. The La Crescent-Hokah boys were runners-up to PEM last season, while the Lancer girls will be looking to improve on last year’s seventh-place conference finish.

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