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Cross country: Fenske finishes 28th in State Cross Country debut

Shooting for a spot in the top 20, Farmington cross country runner Elliot Fenske stuck with the lead pack for as long as he could during action at the Class AA State Cross Country Championships on Saturday.

Fenske ran the first mile on the rolling St. Olaf College course in 5 minutes, 10 seconds, then fell off the pace of the leaders during the second mile before passing several runners in the final quarter mile to secure a 28th-place time of 16:36 for 5,000 meters.

The junior was happy with both his time and with his fast finishing kick that allowed him to reach the finish line as the fourth runner from Section 1AA. He was fifth in last week's section meet.

"I felt pretty good up until mile two, then it was a fight. But I finished harder than I ever have," he said. "I wanted to run around 16 minutes, but the winning time was around there, so that doesn't make me feel too bad. It was still a good time and I had a good time doing it."

Fenske, who won the Prior Lake, New Prague and Shakopee meets this season, said he's motivated to make a return trip to state as a senior. In order to improve his chances, he plans to train between 300-400 miles next summer, considerably more than he has put in in past summers. He will also stay in shape by competing in basketball this winter and possibly track in the spring.

"It was a really fun experience to be there and see what I could do," Fenske said of his first state meet. "Hopefully I can put myself in a position to make it there again next year."