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Cross country: Runners stay strong at Lakeville

In cross country, often runners are left to fend for themselves out on the course.

Although it is largely an individual event, the Rosemount cross country teams learned last week how teammates can assist each other and better the scoring of the team.

The Irish are also learning it takes more than one or two top finishers to make an impact as a team.

Competing in the Lakeville Applejack Invitational last week, the boys squad was helped by a late pack of Irish runners.

The boys team placed sixth out of 27 teams with 221 points. Chris Massey finished fourth overall with a time of 16 minutes, 19.3 seconds.

"The guys ran a pretty even race and gradually moved up during the race," coach Chris Harder said. "We still need to get stronger and sustain a little faster pace throughout the race. However, for our first 5K of the season, I thought we did pretty well."

The girls team placed 10th with 246 points in the 4K event, their best finish at the event since 2004. Tori Grund was the top Irish girls finisher in 30th, crossing the line in 15:48.9.

"The girls had another good performance," Harder said. "Tori Grund, Ellen Fischer and Kelsey Magnuson got up in the top 50 and stayed there in the 29-team meet. Ashley Comstock, Erica Jackson and Bridget Burkard aren't far from joining them. When we have five together that are relatively near the top end, we are going to go from good to great."

One of the most important outcomes for the boys though was the work of Kyle Mills (57th, 17:41.1), Andrew Comstock (58th, 17:41.7), and Adam Sommers (61st, 17:45). Their finishes helped the Irish place ahead of then-No. 12 ranked Lakeville South.

"Our final three scorers worked well together," Harder said. "Andrew Comstock was a marker for Adam Sommers as they paced themselves through the course. Kyle Mills hung with Sommers the first half, then gradually moved up to Comstock. Those three guys' ability to run intelligent races will be key the rest of the season.

Also scoring for the boys was Ben Carlson in 41st in 17:22.8.

Nathan Rock finished in 18:12.1 and Phil Levine had a time of 18:23.9.

Finishing the scoring after Grund for the Rosemount girls were Fischer (43rd, 16:01.5), Magnuson (45th, 16:04.2), Comstock (58th, 16:21.6), and Jackson (70th, 16:32.8).

Burkard finished in 16:51.9 and Emily Davis crossed the line in 17:24.3.