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Cross country: Fenske wins third race, preps for Section 1AA

Junior Elliot Fenkse is still charging to the front of the pack, but the rest of the Farmington cross country team isn't moving up the way head coach Keith Revels had hoped heading into the the section meet.

With Shakopee and Red Wing's top runners absent from the field, Fenske pulled away for his third individual title of the season at last Tuesday's Shakopee Invitational at Memorial Park, but the Tigers ended up having the largest spread among its top five runners -- 2 minutes, 24 seconds -- as they slipped to fifth in the nine-team field.

Mound Westonka brought its top three runners in third, fourth and fifth and won the meet, 54-71, over runner-up Holy Family Catholic. Farmington scored 123 points to finish behind conference foes Red Wing (72) and Prior Lake (120), but ahead of Shakopee, Northfield and New Prague.

"We are not peaking when we need to be," Revels said. "Hoping we regroup and put a good run in at sections."

The Section 1AA Championships get under way this afternoon at Brooktree Golf Course in Owatonna. The Tigers' best shot for a qualification lies with Fenske, who battled a hip injury at last year's section meet and crossed the finish line 42nd in 17:23. As a freshman, Fenske ran a breakout race at the section meet and placed 17th in 16:58, and he was 28 seconds faster than that last Tuesday in Shakopee, where his winning time was 16:30 for 5,000 meters.

The top 10 runners at today's section meet will earn berths to next week's Class AA state meet in Northfield. It took a time of 16:21 to achieve top-10 status in last year's Owatonna section.

In last week's section tune-up, senior Nick Arenberg finished second for the Tigers and 15th overall in the field of 73 runners with a time of 17:46. The rest of the counting times were above the 18-minute mark as Chad Retterath placed 26th in 18:13, senior Levi Freetly placed 36th in 18:30 and Carl Elmer ended up 45th in 18:54.

Also competing for the varsity squad were Lincoln Kirchoff (48th, 19:01) and Matt Thomas (50th, 19:03).