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PREP CROSS COUNTRY: Marshall girls clinch trip to state with first-place finish, Sam Deutz qualifies as an individual

Photo courtesy of Brian Leibfried Members of the Marshall girls cross country team pose for a photo after taking first in the Section 2AA meet on Tuesday to qualify for the state meet.

MINNETRISTA — The Marshall boys and girls cross country teams competed in the Section 2AA meet on Tuesday at Gale Woods Farms and will have some representatives at state. The girls took first place to punch their ticket to state with a team score of 49, with Mankato East also qualifying with a score of 86. This is the ninth straight season (excluding the COVID-shortened season last year that didn’t feature a state meet) that Marshall has qualified for state as a team on the girls side.

The boys team took fifth with a score of 125, but Sam Deutz was able to claim the final individual qualifying spot to go to state. Worthington took first with a score of 51 while Mankato East took second with a score of 61 to advance to the state meet.

Girls

On the girls side, Allyson Sample took fourth with a time of 19:02.48 while Bellamy Sukalski took sixth with a time of 19:38.01, Katelyn Leibfried took eighth with a time of 19:49.97, Brooklyn Mauch took 14th with a time of 20:40.39, Miracle Tucker took 17th with a time of 20:52.66, Cameen McFarquhar took 19th with a time of 21:02.19 and Taleigha Bigler took 34th with a time of 21:44.68.

Marshall girls coach Marie Sample said she is proud of her team and they did a good job of competing for each other and felt the younger runners stepped up during the meet.

“I’m super happy for our girls. We have one senior, a junior, a sophomore and a lot of younger kids and it’s normal for our top runners to need some help and our 5 through 8 runners stepped up,” coach Sample said.“Our effort was great across the board; they ran for each other and were focused on getting the team to state. We ran tired on purpose and now we can get a little rest before state and I think they’re going to run their best race yet at state.”

Coach Sample added they are running with a lot of confidence, especially the younger athletes, and they have a strong bond up-and-down the lineup.

“They are running with more confidence. Last year, we ran in some smaller races against smaller schools, so we have several seventh and eighth graders who haven’t experienced state before. The older girls have been to state as seventh and eighth graders and are really good at mentoring and being patient with the younger girls, which is really helpful in building our team to where it is now,” coach Sample said. “The younger athletes are also willing to try and trust the training; it’s hard training, but it works and they’re seeing the results and it’s giving them confidence and steam. They believe in what they’re doing and they’re very coachable and a fun group of kids.”

Boys

On the boys side, Deutz took 10th with a time of 17:08.71 to earn the final spot as an individual while Ethan Bly took 25th with a time of 18:07.56, Keagen Anderson took 27th with a time of 18:08.63, Hudson Dieken took 30th with a time of 18:18.85, Josh Leibfried took 33rd with a time of 18:25.45, Daniel Olin took 53rd with a time of 19:23.15 and Chase Werner took 57th with a time of 19:30.80.

Marshall boys coach Brian Leibfried said he was pleased with their overall effort and felt they gave it their all to give themselves a chance to qualify for state as a team.

“We had a good effort on the course. Being able to walk away from the event saying we spent it on the course is all we can really ask and that definitely was the case,” coach Leibfried said. “Our kids gave a gutsy effort from the beginning to put themselves in a place to give the team a chance to qualify, but ended up running out of steam to close in fifth place. Hats off to Sam as he secured the final individual state entry spot and will get to compete at state.”

The Class AA meet will be held on Nov. 6 at St. Olaf College in Northfield with times to be determined.

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