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Runners double up in Owatonna

On the course, the runners for the Rosemount cross country teams want to motivate their teammates for the best possible finish.

The Irish boys know they need to have strong overall depth this season and they have capitalized by running in groups.

The Irish boys are ranked No. 9 in Class 2A.

While winning the Ev Berg Invitational in Owatonna last week, the Irish boys depth received an added boost.

"We ran a good team race," Rosemount coach Chris Harder said. "We closed the time spread between our first and fifth guy to 44 seconds. We had a gap of nearly a minute between our second and third guy at the Roy Griak meet, so this performance was encouraging.

"Our depth is getting stronger. Twelve guys under 18 minutes is solid."

The Irish boys scored 36 points, easily beating the host team for the team title at the Ev Berg Invitational last week. It was Rosemount's fifth win in the event for the boys and first since 2006.

Rosemount's girls scored 57 points to win the girls team title. It was the first team title in the event for the Irish girls.

The victory earned Rosemount the No. 12 ranking in the latest poll.

"We were pleased with our performance, not just winning the meet, but having contributions up and down our roster," Harder said. "The JV squad really got the whole team going with their performance before the varsity race.

"Similar to the boys, the depth of the team is getting a lot better. This might be the strongest team of the top 15 we have ever had in the history of the program."

Eighth grader Hannah Grim placed third with a time of 15 minutes, 18.03 seconds.

Tori Grund covered the course in 15:21.2 to finish fourth. Ashley Comstock placed seventh in 15:28.7.

Laura Dennis (18th, 16:04.2), Ellen Fischer (25th, 16:11.2), Emily Davis (34th, 16:29.9), and Thana Hussein (67th, 17:45.7) also ran for Rosemount.

"The girls are working consistently in practice and pushing each other, which consequently has resulted in strong performances throughout the team," Harder said.

Nathan Rock posted the fastest sophomore time for an Irish boys runner, breaking the mark held by Jordan Carlson in 2005. Rock ran a 16:36.3, placing fourth.

Junior Shane McCallum crossed the line in 16:35.6, to finish third overall for Rosemount.

Chandler Dye was right behind Rock, placing fifth in 16:47.4.

Jonathan Sampers ran a 16:55.5 while finishing eighth.

Calvin Lehn (16th, 17:16.9), Chris Mergens (32nd, 17:43.0) and Kyle Mills (36th, 17:51.1) rounded out the varsity lineup for the Irish boys.

The girls JV squad placed second in its race, just one point behind host Owatonna. The boys JV squad dominated its race, with five runners in the top nine overall finishers.