Cross country: Young Elk girls team placed first at St. Francis meet

Elk River girls -- from left, Anna Haugen, Chelsea Schlegel, Rachel Ness, Kennedy Warner, Candice Nemes, Maria Brown and Gabbi Jung -- bolted from the starting line at The Ponds golf course in St. Francis. (Photo by Bill Jones)

With five junior-high girls in their top eight, the Elk River girls cross country team picked up their first win Thursday in the 10-team St. Francis Invitational.

Juniors Chelsea Schlegel and Anna Haugen placed fourth and eighth, respectively. Otherwise it was eighth-grader Rachel Ness in seventh place, freshman Gabby Jung in 10th and seventh-grader Maria Brown in 12th for the five counting scores. Behind them were seventh-grader Kennedy Warner in 15th and eighth-grader Sadie Elsenpeter in 26th.

Rachel Ness (314) and Anna Haugen (292) crossed a bridge on the course. (Photo by Michelle Haugen)

“I said at the beginning of the year that we have some tremendous young athletes,” said coach Mike Niziolek. “The girls team has great depth. That’s why we won the junior varsity too.”

Niziole said that sophomore Kayle Erdahl and freshman Ali Manthey, who placed 1-2 in the JV race to lead the Elks to first place, would be in the varsity lineup for the huge Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday at the U of M Golf Course in Falcon Heights.


Team scoring


1. Elk River 41

2. Robbinsdale Cooper 49

3. St. Francis 110

4. Chisago Lakes 124

5. St. Paul Highland Park 137

6. Spring Lake Park 145

7. Cambridge-Isanti 146

8. Spectrum-PACT 200

9. Blaine 214

10. Fridley 254


The winning team. (Photo by Michelle Haugen)

Individual champion


Kaelyn Williams, Cooper, 14:58


Elks placements


4. Chelsea Schlegel 15:29

7. Rachel Ness 16:03

8. Anna Haugen 16:15

10. Gabby Jung 16:42

12. Maria Brown 16:43

15. Kennedy Warner 16:53

26. Sadie Elsenpeter 17:29

29. Candice Niemes 17:34