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Cross country: Fenske sixth at Redbird Invite; girls take ninth

Moving up from 3,200 to 5,000 meters didn't have much of an effect on the performance of Elliot Fenske.

The Farmington senior followed last week's season-opening fourth-place finish at the Dakota Classic in Eagan with a sixth-place time of 16 minutes, 52 seconds on the tough 5,000-meter course at Thursday's Redbird Invitational cross country meet in Montgomery.

His high finish helped the Tigers place eighth in the 32-team field with 302 team points despite the loss of Chad Retterath, who dropped out of the race with a leg injury.

Junior Lincoln Kirchoff stepped into the No. 2 spot behind Fenske and placed 48th overall in 18:22. Senior Carl Elmer was 10 seconds back in 55th place and No. 4 runner Dan Block, a freshman, finished 96th in 19:18.

Sophomore Ben Olson was one spot behind Block in 97th and senior Josh Ruthenbeck completed the varsity team with a 159th-place finish. Ruthenbeck finished in 20:28, giving the Tigers a spread of nearly 3 1/2 minutes among their top six and 2 1/2 among their top five, numbers head coach Keith Revels would like to see cut down.

"All totaled we had a span of 2:27 within our top five, which is much too high," he said. "We have gaps right now that I'm hoping some more miles can help close."

Tiger JV runners Alec Wilson and Adam Wallenta earned spots in next week's varsity lineup by finishing 10th and 11th, respectively, in the JV race.

Mound-Westonka won the boys team race, 87-164, over runner-up Glencoe-Silver Lake.

Tiger girls finish 9th

A 34-second spread among runners one through five helped the Farmington girls cross country team place ninth out of 29 teams at Thursday's meet.

With Bailey Opsal, the team's top finisher at last week's meet, out due to an illness, freshman Maricia Pacheco stepped in to lead the Tigers. Pacheco finished the 4,000-meter course in 16:59 to place 41st overall.

The team's next four varsity scorers all crossed the finish line in a 14-second span. Maria Kiminski placed 59th in 17:19, followed closely by eighth-graders Sofia Chadwick (60th, 17:20) and Victoria Jacoby (65th, 17:29.)

Senior Nicole Clifton rounded out the top five with a 68th-place time of 17:33 and Marissa Stewart was 92nd in 18:04.

"In spite of the increased distance, compared to last week's two- mile race, I think the girls were much more confident in this race than last week," coach Heidi Revels said. "Most of them were familiar with the course from last year, the weather was better than last week, and they had one more week of experience and training under their belt."

The Tigers scored 293 team points. Prior Lake won the meet with 52 points and Shakopee was second with 110 points.

Both Tiger teams compete again tomorrow at the Lakeville North Invite at Aronson Park in Lakeville.