It was a dramatic end to a race, from an individual perspective. It was also a scary end. Down the home stretch of the girls 1A cross country meet, it came down to the favorite, Cotter’s Sonja Semling, LFC youngster Autumn Rakosnik and Chatfield’s Lexi Kivimagi. Semling, the two-time defending champion, was in first place heading to the last 300-meters or so. But she would not finish the race. The junior overexerted herself and was passed by first Rakonik and then Kivimagi as they headed to the last corner. But coming out of it, it was the “veteran” two-time state qualifier Kivimagi in the lead. Posting Chatfield’s first cross country individual title since Kayla Woltz in 2010, the frosh Kivimagi (19:43.34) topped Rakosnik (19:56.3) for meet champion. Kivimagi improved upon sixth (20:46.7) and a fourth-place finishes (20:01.84) the past two years. She earned her third state berth. Rakosnik goes for the first time. Her runner-up finish is LFC’s best since Emily Snyder took fourth in 2015. It was the highest an LFC girl has ever finished. Lake City’s Olivia Yotter (20:11.45) took third and Lourdes’ Anna Peikert (20:27.36) fourth. Despite top runner Semling not finishing, Cotter (93) made state by taking second to Lourdes (59). Three Eagle runners crossed before any Rambler did, as the Eagles had a trio of top 12 finishers. Lake City (106) took third and Pine Island (126) fourth. Journal-covered teams LFC (128) and Chatfield (179) took fifth and sixth. The Burros put five in the top 45 and not one is an a junior or senior. GMLOS took 13th, LARPH 15th, and Kingsland 19th (of 20 complete teams). Chatfield’s Charlotte Oeltjen (11th > 20:59.57) missed making state by a few spots. She moved up from 24th place last year (21:38.88). LFC sophomore Lillyan Kiehne (17th > 21:30.38) notched her fourth top 20 section finish. She took 15th, 5th and 13th the past three years. Teammate, 7th grader Eliza Cullen (22:30.13) finished 30th. Charity Kingsley (36th > 22:44.48) and Grace Kingsley (44th > 23:14.30) rounded out LFC’s five scoring runners. Kingsland’s top finisher was Kylie Meyer (45th > 23:19.04). Chatfield’s Marianna Miron (23:36.67) took 48th. GMLOS’ top finisher was Naomi Warmka (53rd > 23:44.30). LARPHs top finisher was Caitlin Bauer (54th > 23:44.71). The 5,000-meter race had 140 total runners. Unlike the boys event ran before it, the girls race was not run in the rain. The grounds were sloppy. Cotter’s Semling received medical attention but later with her teammates. Joining Kivimagi and Rakosnik in making state individually were Yotter, St. Charles’ Mya Slavin (5th > 20:28.42), Pacelli’s Kya McManus (7th > 20:39.65) and Lake City’s Eden Olson (8th > 20:42.33).
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