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Prep cross country: Heron Lake-Okabena girls win in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — Paced by the freshmen trio of Rachel Salentiny, MaKayla Edwards and Brianna Preston, the Heron Lake-Okabena Wildcats dominated the varsity girls’ division of the five-team Springfield/Cedar Mountain Cross Country Invitational at the Springfield Country Club Monday.

Murray County Central put a trio of boys in the top 10 and finished a solid second in the varsity boys’ meet, behind team champion Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop.

Salentiny, Minnesota’s preseason (high school cross country coaches association) ninth-ranked Class A girl, won the 4,000-meter race with a blistering early-season time of 15 minutes, 21 seconds.

Edwards also bettered the 16-minute mark, finishing second (15:47), while Preston (17:23) placed third. Classmates Cheyenne Schaffer (seventh, 18:37) and Taylor Johanning (eighth, 18:40) completed HL-O’s low-scoring total of 21 points.

S/CM had three runners finish among the top 10 (5-9-10) and placed second in the team standings with 54 points, while both MCC (64) and G-F-W (82) also registered complete girls’ team scores. New Century Academy of Hutchinson was incomplete.

MCC’s Linnea York (17:58) finished sixth, pacing the Rebels with a medalist (top 10) performance.

G-F-W had four boys — including individual champion Tyler Sassenberg (16:38) — earn medals in the longer 5,000-meter race, as the Thunderbirds tallied a low score of 34 points (1-5-6-10-12).

Clayton Hartle (17:10) and Jack Erickson (17:25) of MCC finished second and third, respectively, while HL-O’s Logan Knutson (seventh, 17:44) and MCC’s Isaiah Olsem (ninth, 18:29) also claimed medals.

MCC was a close second in the boys’ standings with 43 points (2-3-9-14-15), followed by S/CM (59), HL-O (123) and NCA (148).

There were 26 finishing runners in the girls’ race, while 35 boys completed the race.

MCC’s Jack Peterson (second, 8:36), HL-O’s Paul Salentiny (third, 8:42), MCC’s Cameron Kresko (fourth, 8:45 and HL-O’s Carlos Juarez (fifth, 8:58) each bettered nine minutes for the 2,000-meter boys’ junior high race.