Farmington, Prior Lake win SSC cross country team titles

It was the traditional venue and a non-traditional format.

The South Suburban Conference cross country championships returned to their usual location at Eagan High School on Saturday. But, with COVID-19 precautions forcing changes in how meets are conducted, the event took place in four shifts, similar to what took place in regular-season conference meets. For Saturday’s championships, teams were grouped according to their finishes in the regular-season meets.

Farmington’s girls ran with Rosemount and Lakeville South in a triangular that was the final race of the day. The Tigers not only won the triangular but posted the lowest team score overall of 27 points, finishing 40 ahead of South. It’s the fourth consecutive conference championship for Farmington, which also had the three fastest individual runners (Anna Fenske, Mariah Fenske and Mackenzy Lippold) in the meet.

The final boys triangular placed the top two runners in the state Class AA rankings, Gabriel Mahlen of Eastview and Gabe Smit of Prior Lake, in the same race. Mahlen, however, had to drop out of the race because of an injury with 1.5 miles remaining. Smit won the individual title by about nine seconds over Brennen Peterson of Rosemount, who also ran in the final triangular. The Lakers cruised to a 55-point victory over Rosemount in the overall team standings.

Girls highlights

Anna Fenske, a senior, completed her sweep of South Suburban Conference individual championships, completing the 5,000-meter Eagan High School course in 17 minutes, 46.8 seconds. Ninth-graders Mariah Fenske (18:32.0) and Lippold (18:59.2) were second and third overall.

Sophia Taarud (10th overall, 19:44.4), Lindsey Woestehoff (11th, 19:46.5) and Laura McGregor (19th, 20:12.6) also finished in the top 20, which is the cutoff for all-conference recognition. Mari Scott placed 28th for the Tigers.

Lakeville South, second to Farmington in the triangular and second overall, had four top-10 finishers overall: Claire Vukovics (fourth, 19:09.1), Avery Heinz (sixth, 19:22.7), Brycelyn Brewster (seventh, 19:29.1) and Rylie Rassmussen (ninth, 19:39.6). All four are all-conference.

Top runners for Rosemount, which placed fourth overall, were Makayla Bishop (13th, 19:46.7), Taylor Heimerl (18th, 20:07.4) and Abby McNeil (20th, 20:15.1).

Eastview and Eagan were second and third in a triangular that Prior Lake won. The Lightning were fifth and Wildcats sixth in the overall standings.

Top-20 finishers for Eastview were seventh-grader Hadley Knight, 14th in 19:56.2, and senior Miranda Kerndt, 15th in 19:57.9. Ninth-grader Emily Percival finished 21st.

Eagan junior Rina Aschemann was second in her triangular and eighth overall in 19:35.9. Josie Seehafer finished 23rd, and Ava Ligtenberg and Catalina Decker were 26th and 27th.

Shakopee defeated Lakeville North 24-31 in a dual meet, and North was eighth overall. Top runners for the Panthers were ninth-grader Ella Raiche, who finished 31st, and seventh-grader Sophia Olson, who was 37th.

Burnsville defeated Apple Valley 23-33 in the opening girls dual, with the Blaze finishing ninth overall and the Eagles 10th. Burnsville junior Zoie Dundon earned all-conference recognition for her 12th-place finish in 19:46.6. Top finisher for Apple Valley was senior Emma Meyer, who was 45th overall.

Boys highlights

Brennen Peterson finished second overall in 16:27.0, as he helped lead Rosemount to second place overall and second in its triangular with Prior Lake and Eastview.

Will Harder (11th, 16:44.3) and Cole Adams (13th, 16:48.0) also were all-conference runners for the Irish. Anders Roback and Micah Beise completed Rosemount’s team score by finishing 28th and 29th.

Eastview dropped to fourth in the overall team standings after Mahlen’s injury. The Lightning likely would have finished second had their top runner been healthy.

Hunter Dunne (10th, 16:44.0) and Nathaniel Getman (14th, 16:48.1), both juniors, earned all-conference status for Eastview. Sam Setterlund finished 22nd and was only about three seconds from the all-conference cutoff.

A tiebreaker was required to decide a triangular between Lakeville South, Eagan and Lakeville North. South and Eagan tied at 35 points. Lakeville South won the tiebreaker as the Cougars’ sixth finisher, Lucas Pessanha, came in two places ahead of Eagan’s No. 6.

Lakeville South senior Aaron Cavanaugh (16:30.1) was the top finisher in the triangular and third overall. Matthew Whittaker (16:38.0) finished seventh overall to earn all-conference.

The Lakeville South-Eagan dual also unveiled a scoring oddity – although Eagan was second to South in the triangular, once all 10 teams were scored the Wildcats were third, two places ahead of South.

Eagan senior Michael Marshall was eighth overall in 16:40.4. Seniors Sam Marshall (17th, 16:58.2) and Andre Huston (18th, 16:59.7) also finished under the all-conference cutoff. Arlan Hegenbarth was 21st, about two seconds away from the all-conference standard.

Lakeville North was third in the triangular with Eagan and Lakeville South and sixth overall. Earning all-conference for the Panthers were sophomores Bryce Stachewicz (15th, 16:50.9) and Andrew Casey (20th, 17:04.4).

Farmington defeated Shakopee 23-34 in a boys dual and placed seventh overall. Tigers senior Robbie Spain was the top runner in the dual and ninth overall in 16:42.7. Ninth-grader Mason Sullivan placed 25th.

Apple Valley defeated Burnsville 27-32 in the first boys dual. Overall, the Eagles placed eighth and Burnsville was 10th.

Top runner in the Apple Valley-Burnsville dual was Eagles senior Abdikafi Khalif, who ran 17:02.0 to finish 19th overall and earn all-conference. Ninth-grader Andrew Prochnow was 45th for Apple Valley.

Leading Burnsville runner was senior Matthew Krzmarzick, who was 23rd overall in 17:07.3. Zachary Friedmann was 34th and Everett Sandbo 43rd.

Section meets

The high school cross country season for local teams ends this week with section competition.

Farmington will go for a fourth consecutive Section 1AA girls championship Thursday at Brooktree Golf Course in Owatonna. Lakeville North and Lakeville South also will run in the Section 1AA meet.

In Section 3AA, Rosemount is three-time defending girls team championship, and Eastview has won the last two boys team titles. The Section 3AA meet is scheduled Thursday at Valleywood Golf Course in Apple Valley.

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