Cougars take back SSC cross country title

South girls finish 20 points ahead of Eagan

Lakeville South returned the favor against Eagan at the South Suburban Conference girls cross country meet, dethroning the Wildcats one year after they had taken the championship from the Cougars.

South won the conference championship for the third time in four years, scoring 63 points in Friday’s meet at Eagan High School. Eagan was second with 83 points. Lakeville South and Eagan are fourth and fifth in the state coaches association Class AA rankings.

Burnsville senior Vivian Hett was the individual champion, finishing the 4,000-meter course in 14 minutes, 50.8 seconds, about 15 seconds ahead of Eagan junior Anna Van Wyk. Hett finished fourth in the 2012 conference meet.

Lakeville South added the South Suburban championship to its list of 2013 accomplishments, which includes a victory at the Victoria Lions Invitational on Oct. 1. The Cougars’ top seven runners finished 21st or higher at the conference meet; no other team had more than three in the top 21.

Junior Kaytlyn Larson led Lakeville South by finishing fourth in 15:23.9. Annie Brekken (12th, 15:35.8), Erin Kilbride (13th, 15:37.8), Julia Durham (15th, 15:44.6) and Jenny Machaj (19th, 15:57.6) also counted toward the Cougars’ team score. All earned all-conference recognition, as did eighth-grader Patty Jo English, who finished 20th overall. Bailey Brewster, another eighth-grader, finished 21st.

Lakeville South will defend its team championship at the Section 1AA meet Oct. 24 in Owatonna.

Eagan’s Van Wyk (second, 15:05.7) and Raissa Hansen (sixth, 15:29.9) placed in the top 10 individually. The Wildcats were hampered by the loss of their No. 4 runner, Olivia Mitchell, who was unable to finish the race because of cramps. Eagan coach Lisa Langenhahn said it was unlikely the Wildcats would have caught Lakeville South even if Mitchell had finished.

“I don’t know if you’re ever happy with finishing second,” Langenhahn said, “but the girls were OK with the way they ran. Time goals went out the window because of the wind, so they had to concentrate on placing.”

Kelli Praska finished 14th in 15:43.7 to earn a spot on the all-conference team. Sophomores Danielle Marshall and Katie Koprowski were 27th and 34th.

Eagan defends its Section 3AA girls team championship Oct. 24 at Valleywood Golf Course in Apple Valley.

Burnsville finished fourth with 107 points, five behind third-place Prior Lake. Hett and eighth-grader Kelly Koch (fifth, 15:26.3) earned places on the all-conference team.

Lakeville North was fifth with 112 points, five behind Burnsville. Eighth-grader Danielle Bellino was eighth in 15:33.9 to earn all-conference status. Courtney Earle and Emma Drangstveit finished 22nd and 23rd.

Rosemount was sixth in the team competition and had two all-conference runners – senior Hannah Grim (seventh, 15:30.8) and eighth-grader Sydney Hansen (ninth, 15:34.8).

Sophomore Laura Bestul finished 10th in 15:35.0 to lead Eastview, which was seventh in the team standings.

Apple Valley placed eighth, with sophomore Olivia Anger (third, 15:21.7) and eighth-grader Molly Moynihan (15:46.2) earning spots on the all-conference team.

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