CANBY- At the start of the season, seventh-grader Nichole Sample's goal was simple: win a junior high cross country meet. On Tuesday at the Canby Golf Course, she did one better.
Sample's time of 15 minutes, 45 seconds was the best among all competitors and crucial to leading Marshall to a five-point victory over its hosts, Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI.
The Tigers placed all five qualifying runners in the top 10 for a team score of 26, edging out C/M/L, which scored 31 points.
Willmar Community Christian runner Ben Burgett, left, runs next to Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI’s Nick Stoks during Tuesday’s C/M/L?Cross Country Invitational at Canby Golf Course. Burgett finished first and Stoks finished second in the race.
"We had our top five girls within a minute of each other," Marshall girls' head coach Marie Sample said. "That's a nice, tight pack. I'm excited about what I'm seeing."
Marshall's next runner to cross the finish line was Rose Andersen, who finished in fourth place with a time of 16:11. After Andersen, a trio of Tigers finished consecutively. Claire Boersma (16:20), Madi Verschaetse (16:39) and Jenna Christianson (16:47) finished sixth, seventh and eighth.
"One of the things I like about our program is that we're building character with our kids, along with being very successful. The kids, they're taking care of each other," Sample said.
The Tiger boys' team also took first by five points over C/M/L, though its victory came from a less direct path.
After the top three individuals crossed the finish line, including Marshall's Andrew Bell - whose time of 16:43 placed him third - more than four minutes elapsed before Marshall's Wade DeAustin finished in fourth place with a time of 20:50.
Those waiting at the end of the course were bewildered by the time separating the top three and the rest of the competitors. The reason for the four minute delay: someone took a wrong turn.
"Wade was the culprit there," Marshall boys head coach Mike Jacobs said. "They're supposed to take two quick rights and head towards the finish line area. He just went flying out to the East on the part they had already done before. He led everybody astray. I think, after so many had gone by, they decided to try and let everybody do that."
The extra mileage did not come back to plague the Tigers, however, as they went on to take first in the team competition with 39 points.
Mike Larson was the third Tiger to complete the course, finishing in sixth place with a time of 21:15. Chase VanKeulen (11th) and John Botsford (15th) had the final qualifying times for the Tigers with a 21:44 and a 22:34, respectively.
Though the Tigers still managed to win the meet despite DeAustin's err, the bloated times did pose a slight problem for Jacobs.
"I wish they hadn't taken that wrong turn because I'd like to have some comparison from previous years on this course," Jacobs said. "I thought that we ran with a lot of determination. Certainly Andrew Bell. He had a 16:43. That's an incredibly strong time on the course. Then everything just kind of goes haywire."
Both the Tiger boys and girls are off until Sept. 27, when they will get a first hand look at the section competition in Buffalo.
"They're going to host a pre-section meet," Jacobs said. "The word on that is that it's incredibly hilly. We have nine days before that meet, so we're going to have to find a spot ...and get a little experience on that because that's what our section is going to be."
For the girls' team, the terrain is one they have been focusing on since the summer.
"All summer long, two days a week we took our girls to Camden (State Park) and we ran hills," Sample said. "It's really no different now except that it's harder to get everybody out there. Saturday morning we already have a practice scheduled for out there. There's no grumbling, no complaining. They have goals, they want to make state and they know we need to do this to make it happen.
"That's why we're going to Buffalo next week. Get a look at their course, get a look at the hills, get up against those tough section teams."
For C/M/L, a pair of second-place individual finishes helped power the boys' and girls' teams to second-place finishes, as well.
Leah Jessen finished second for the girls with a time of 16:03, while Nick Stoks had the top time for the Lancer boys, finishing in 16:35 in his first meet back from injury.
Sariah Cheadle's time of 17:24 placed her 13th overall, but was a team-best for the Murray County Central girls. Morgan Field had the top individual time for Yellow Medicine East, finishing in 33rd place in 19:51.
Jacob Carroll had the top time for the Sting boys, finishing in fifth with a time of 21:01. Andy Garza was the fastest Rebel, taking ninth overall with a time of 21:35.
YME took third place in the boys' meet with 93 points, whereas MCC finished fourth with 113 points. Willmar Community Christian took fifth place with 122 points and had the top individual time of 16:29 from Ben Burgett.
In the girls' meet, Benson/KMS took third with 74 points and MACCRAY/RCW was fourth with a team score of 118. MCC and YME did not enter enough runners to qualify for the team competition in the girls' meet.
Girls Team Results: 1. Marshall 26; 2. Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI 31; 3. Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 74; 4. MACCRAY/Renville County West 118.
Top 10 Individuals
1. Nichole Sample (Marshall) 15:45; 2. Leah Jessen (C/M/L) 16:03; 3. Amanda Grengs (C/M/L) 16:09; 4. Rose Andersen (Marshall) 16:11; 5. Natalie Dinius (C/M/L) 16:16; 6. Claire Boersma (Marshall) 16:20; 7. Madi Verschaetse (Marshall) 16:39; 8. Jenna Christianson (Marshall) 16:47; 9. Sydney Sisk (C/M/L) 17:10; Bethany Rosemeier (Benson/KMS) 17:15.
Marshal Individual Results: 1. Nichole Sample 15:45; 4. Rose Andersen 16:11; 6. Claire Boersma 16:20; 7. Madi Verschaetse 16:39; 8. Jenna Christianson 16:47; 11. Sarah Buysse 17:15; 13. Marah Hart 17:26.
C/M/L Individual Results: 2. Leah Jessen 16:03; 3. Amanda Grengs 16:09; 5. Natalie Dinius 16:16; 9. Sydney Sisk 17:10; 12. Heidi Pavek 17:18; 16. Ashley Grengs 18:10; 22. Haily Citrowske 18:51.
Murray County Central Individual Results: 13. Sariah Cheadle 17:24; 16. Melissa Gehl 17:39; 24. Maddie Dibble 18:34; 28. Lizette Garza 18:49.
Yellow Medicine East Individual Results: 33. Morgan Field 19:51; 34. Allison Carmany 20:05.
Boys Team Results: 1. Marshall 39; 2. Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI 44; 3. Yellow Medicine East 93; 4. Murray County Central 113; 5. Willmar Community Christian 122; 6. Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 136; 7. MACCRAY/Renville County West 144.
Top 10 Individuals: 1. Ben Burgett (WCC) 16:29; 2. Nick Stoks (C/M/L) 16:35; 3. Andrew Bell (Marshall) 16:43; 4. Wade DeAustin (Marshall) 20:50; 5. Jacob Carroll (YME) 21:01; 6. Mike Larson (Marshall) 21:15; 7. McKinley Johansen (C/M/L) 21:20; 8. Wyatt Johansen (C/M/L) 21:34; 9. Andy Garza (MCC) 21:35; 10. Josh Starr (WCC) 21:40.
Marshall Individual Results: 3. Andrew Bell 16:43; 4. Wade DeAustin 20:50; 6. Mike Larson 21:15; 11. Chase VanKeulen 21:44; 15. John Botsford 22:34; 44. Josh Boersma 25:50.
C/M/L Individual Results: 2. Nick Stoks 16:35; 7. McKinley Johansen 21:20; 8. Wyatt Johansen 21:34; 13. Joseph Bach 22:30; 14. Billy Deslauriers 22:33; 16. Levi Citrowske 22:34; 17. Josue Leos 22:34.
YME Individual Results: 5. Jacob Carroll 21:01; 19. Isaac Rillo 22:43; 22. Sergey Schuler 23:03; 23. Clint Thomas 23:05; 24. Austin Thomas 23:12; 36. Blake Helgeson 24:10.
MCC Individual Results: 9. Andy Garza 21:35; 18. Aaron Boock 22:36; 21. Jack Erickson 23:00; 31. Chris Ellens 23:51; 34. Nathan Beech 24:03; 35. Markus Drealan 24:07; 39. Jacob Boerboom 24:34.