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The Melrose-Mindoro girls cross country team took home the Dairyland Conference championship last week.

The Lady Mustangs scored 30 points and edged perennial conference rival Blair-Taylor (45) to claim their sixth conference title in the past eight years.

The Mel-Min boys finished in fourth place with 96 points at the meet held at Lincoln High School Thursday night.

“We’re proud of them,” said Mel-Min athletic director Connie Craig.

The Mel-Min girls placed four runners in the top 10 to give the team four all-conference performers.

The feat included a conference championship performance from Anna Morabito, who took first place in 16 minutes, 14 seconds.

Macy Craig also had a first-team All-Conference performance after taking fourth place in 17:03. Teammate Tiana Mikel was sixth in 17:13 for second-team honors and Avery Aasen took eighth in 17:34 for another second-team performance.

Brianna Kowalsky just missed all-conference honors with her 12th-place finish in 18:01.

Marissa Sime and Emily Oehler rounded out the Lady Mustangs’ varsity roster in 14th and 17th places, respectively. Sime finished in 18:26 and Oehler in 18:40.

Mel-Min head coach Sarah Thompson said all runners — boys and girls — posted personal best times at the meet, including dropping times by a minute or a minute and a half in some cases.

“Everyone ran hard,” she said. “There were smiles all around.”

The Lady Mustangs’ championship follows the 2012 season where they were just edged by Blair-Taylor and took runner-up honors. In 2011, the girls had claimed their fifth conference title in the previous six years.

Connie said the girls and boys’ success is due to the efforts of the coaching staff over the past several years.

Numbers for both squads continue to be strong, she said.

“They have accomplished a lot,” Connie said. “We’ve got the numbers, which is really good.”

The Mustang boys scored 96 points in a field that included champion Eau Claire Immanuel (28), second-place Cochrane-Fountain City (52), third-place Blair-Taylor (73) and fifth-place Independence/Gilmanton (105).

Mel-Min’s Jacob Bryhn was the lone Mustang runner to receive all-conference honors with his second-team performance (9th, 17:43).

Brent Knudson was the team’s No. 2 runner in 11th place (17:51) and Derek Blaken followed in 24th place (19:14). David Bjorge was 26th (19:17), Isaiah Dolbier took 34th (20:22), Ryan Whitacre took 35th (20:39) and Caleb Waldera was 38th (21:10).

“The boys have done very well and they keep improving every year,” Connie said.

Mel-Min also had several junior varsity runners compete at the meet. The Lady Mustangs had eight of the nine runners competing in the JV field, with Sam Kriesel coming in first (18:45), Lexi Ruffi in second (19:53), Allison Gerdes in third (20:16), Bailey Hines in fourth (20:27), Natasha Nuebauer in fifth (22:00) and Stephanie Pipkin in sixth (22:07).

Ariel Hestekind took eighth (23:36) and Faa Leumnarin finished in ninth (28:06).

The Mel-Min boys had five runners in the JV field of 18, including Jacob Olson, who finished in second (19:55). Jonah Kowalsky was ninth (22:08), Andy Marciulionis took 11th (22:35), Griffin Murray-Benzing was 16th (24:35) and Nathan Bennett took 18th (28:41).

Lincoln results

The Lincoln cross country teams also competed at the Dairyland Conference meet. The girls were led by Kandi Shramek, who took 29th (20:48) and teammate Billie Castillo followed (37th, 29:41).

The Hornet boys had four runners competing, including Johnathan Forsting, who was 15th in 18:32. Justin Arzt took 37th (20:47), Donny Risch was 41st (21:59) and Jaryd Rowekamp took 42nd (22:32).

Both the Lincoln and Mel-Min squads will compete at the WIAA Division 3 sectional meet Saturday at Westby, where they will vie for a state berth.

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