Cross country: Elk girls 2nd behind Forest Lake at section, advance to state

The Elk girls team gathered happily after earning another trip to the state meet. (Photo by Katherine Ladwig)
The Elk girls team gathered happily after earning another trip to the state meet. From left are Gracie Scheid, Ali Manthei, Kailey Erdahl, Kari Radke, Gabbi Jung, Annica Carr, Maria Brown, Rachel Ness and Kennedy Warner. (Photo by Katherine Ladwig)



by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

The Elk River girls cross country team earned its fourth state trip in five years with a runner-up finish in Section 7AA on Thursday.

Forest Lake was team champion with 50, followed by the Elks with 81 and Grand Rapids with 114, at Cloquet Country Club.

“Our times were very good,” said coach Mike Niziolek. “Our goal was to get all seven under 16 minutes, and we had six. Once again,  our depth paid off. Our seventh runner beat everyone else’s seventh.”

Annica Carr (2575) and Maria Brown were 3rd and 4th in the Elks lineup. (Photo by Katherine Ladwig)
Annica Carr (2575) and Maria Brown (2574) ran side by side at Cloquet. Brown. Carr placed 19th and Brown 23rd.  (Photo by Katherine Ladwig)

The Elks were led by sophomore Rachel Ness in third place (14:53). The other counting scorers were freshman Kennedy Warner 12th (15:17), seventh-grader Annica Carr 19th (15:44), freshman Maria Brown 23rd (15:55) and sophomore Gracie Scheid 24th(15:59).

The Elks also had senior Kailey Erdahl in 26th place (16:00) and junior Gabbi Jung 36th (16:20) in the field of 109 runners.

“We were thinking Forest Lake would be the team to beat,” said Niziolek, “and that Grand Rapids would be the team that advanced instead of us if we didn’t run well. But we ran well.”

Forest Lake sophomore Emma Benner was individual champion in 14:38, followed by North Branch freshman Rhianna Rinke (14:41) and Ness.

The state meet will be held Saturday, Nov. 2, at St. Olaf College in Northfield. The girls Class AA race will lead off the day at 10 a.m.



7AA team scoring

1. Forest Lake 50
2. Elk River 81
3. Grand Rapids 114
4. Duluth East 139
5. North Branch 163
6. Andover 182
7. Big Lake 199
8. Chisago Lakes 201
9. Princeton 216
10. Cloquet 238
11. Zimmerman 247
12. Duluth Denfeld 331
13. Cambridge-Isanti 337
14. St. Francis 342
15. Hermantown 433
16. Hibbing 434