Cross country: Monroe, Fenske lead boys to 4th; girls take fifthSenior Ryan Monroe and sophomore Elliot Fenske both covered the rolling, 3,200-meter course at the Dakota County Invitational in 10 minutes, 43 seconds Friday morning in Eagan, leading the Farmington boys cross country team to a fourth-place finish at the season-opening meet.
By: Matt Steichen, The Farmington Independent
Senior Ryan Monroe and sophomore Elliot Fenske both covered the rolling, 3,200-meter course at the Dakota County Invitational in 10 minutes, 43 seconds Friday morning in Eagan, leading the Farmington boys cross country team to a fourth-place finish at the season-opening meet.
Lakeville South, led by individual champion Stu Lombardo, edged runner-up Eagan, 56-58, in the team race. St. Thomas Academy was third with 87, followed by Farmington (112), Apple Valley (132), New Prague (157), Holy Angels (164), Hill-Murray (165) and Hastings (205).
"For the boys, it's not as high of a finish as last year, but we still ran well and were outrun by some very good teams," coach Keith Revels said. "We knew Monroe and Fenske were going to be the big guns. We need to close the gap between the two and three runners and another between the four and five runners to get the score down where we would like."
The Tigers finished second at the same meet a year ago, but have since said goodbye to a pair of seniors who provided counting scores throughout last season. They also had to compete without a counting score from returning all-conference runner Sam Larkin, who was seventh on the team and 54th overall in 12:22.
Picking up the slack was junior Levi Freetly, who joined cross country after a successful track season as a middle-distance runner and placed 25th out of 61 varsity runners in his first career race with a time of 11:21. Returning runner Nick Arenberg was right behind in 29th at 11:25, but 15 more runners crossed the finish line before freshman Chad Retterath arrived with the team's fifth counting score. Retterath was 45th overall in 11:51 and another first-timer, Carl Elmer, was 53rd in 12:20.
The Farmington JV boys team finished fifth, led by sophomore Charlie Wicks' 13th-place time of 12:15. Wicks was one of a record 44 Farmington boys to toe the line in the JV race.
Strong top four helps girls move up to fifth
The Farmington girls team packed their first four finishes together nicely in moving up from an eighth-place finish a year ago to a fifth-place showing Friday at the Dakota County Invitational.
Lakeville South completed a sweep of both varsity races by placing all five of its scoring runners in the top 10. New Prague was second with 94 points, followed by Eagan (100), Forest Lake (101), Farmington (143), Apple Valley (150), Hastings (152), Holy Angels (168) and Hill-Murray (202).
"The girls have been ahead of last year's pace from day one and continued the trend Friday," Revels said. "Like the boys, the gap from four to five needs to close a bit, but all in all a good start for the girls."
The top four Tiger runners all crossed the line in a span of 29 seconds, starting with senior Jackie Beckett's 19th-place time of 13:19. Freshman Bailey Opsal was one place back at 13:27, followed by sophomore Nicole Clifton's 23rd-place 13:30 clocking. Eighth grader Maria Kiminksi provided a solid time in the No. 4 spot with a 32nd-place 13:48, but then it was over a minute before freshman Emily Gerster (49th, 14:42) crossed the line with the team's final counting score.
The varsity squad was rounded out by Maricia Pacheco (52nd, 15:11) and Melissa Marshall (53rd, 15:17).
"(The girls) have 10 runners that at this point seem to be in the top seven mix," Revels said. "We have not had this in the past for the girls and it should really help their team and individual performances as the year progresses."
The Tigers also placed fifth in the JV girls team standings, led by Marissa Stewart's 13th-place time of 14:46. Angie Schull was 18th in 14:50 and Naomi Wood 19th in 14:54.
Both the boys and girls teams compete again this afternoon at the Red Bird Invitational at Montgomery Golf Course.