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Minnesota cross country: Trio of strong runners lift LHS to seventh

Les Knutson

Daily Globe

NORTHFIELD —- Putting its first three runners among the top-14 finishers in the team scoring Saturday, Luverne placed a strong seventh in the team standings —- in a field of 16 competing squads —- in the Class A Girls’ State Cross Country Meet Saturdayat St. Olaf College.

Paced by freshman Madison Schandelmeier, who placed an impressive sixth overall (fourth in the team scoring), along with fine performances from both senior veteran Makayla Hohn (36th overall, 12th in the team scoring) and seventh-grade rookie Gabrielle Ferrell (38th, 14th team scoring), the Cardinals tallied 185 points —- improving 112 points from their 2011 score of 297, which placed them 14th.

“We met our goal of getting in the top eight,” summed up LHS head coach Pete Janiszeski. “We had three girls finish in the top 14 in the team scoring, which is really good.”

There were a total of 112 girls competing (16 teams times seven runners) in the team competition.

Schandlemeier ran the 4,000-meter course in 15:03.4 to lead the Cardinals, while Hohn —- who has been running with a sore calf muscle most of the season —- completed a stellar career for LHS with her fourth consecutive top-40 finish at St. Olaf. She ran the course in 15:43.4 Saturday, capping what Janiszeski called a “terrific career, including four great races at the state meet.”

Ferrell, who was knocked down late in the race, recovered and completed the distance in a fine time of 15:45.8, entering the chute as the first seventh-grader.

“For her first time up here, Gabrielle ran a fantastic race,” praised Janiszeski. “Having to get up after falling down and placing as high as she did is quite remarkable.”

Completing the scoring for the Cardinals (4-12-14-62-93) were freshman Mariah Aukes (118, 62, 16:37.0) and seventh-grader Madison Reisdorfer (156, 93, 17:39.1), while freshmen Zayna Hustoft (119, 94, 17:40.2) and Bergin Flom (165, 102, 18:02.3) were close behind.

Reisdorfer, who finished as a scoring runner for Luverne for the first time this season, had the second-best improvement in her time among the 22 competing runners in the meet from Section 3A, knocking 12.7 seconds off her section meet time of 17:51.8.

Only seven of the 22 runners ran faster times at St. Olaf Saturday than they did at Adrian Oct. 24.

“I was proud of all seven of our girls,” concluded Janiszeski. “We had another very good season, both as individuals and collectively as a team.”