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Decorah sweeps 3A cross country titles

Jeff Linder, CR Gazette –

FORT DODGE — Need further evidence of the depth of Decorah’s girls cross country team?

Not even a catastrophic injury to one of their top runners could stop them.

Brinn Anderson suffered a compound fracture in her leg with a quarter-mile to go, but her teammates stepped forward. That helped Decorah to a girls-boys Class 3A sweep at the state meet Saturday afternoon at Lakeside Golf Course.

“Definitely some mixed emotions,” Shana Kelly said. “This just showed how deep we are. A runner goes down and everybody stepped up for her.”

The Vikings actually trailed MOC-Floyd Valley through four runners, but a big advantage at No. 5 staked them to a 63-85 advantage over the Dutch. Davenport Assumption was third with 93 points.

Decorah’s boys scored 62 points to complete the sweep. Pella was second with 74.

In both cases, depth was key. Kelly was 15th, then came a cluster of Stef Bjerke (19th), Amanda Taylor (21st), Linnea Kephart (23rd) and Gara Lonning (24th).

Anderson was in that clump until she went down before the final, frantic stretch. She did not finish.

Kyle Hosting was fifth in the boys race, in 16:02. Patrick Larson, Ethan Pankow and Thomas Knobbe were 10th, 12th and 13th.

“We’ve had a solid top four all year long,” Hosting said.

Boone juniors Chandler Austin and Albert Meier were 1-2 in 15:24 and 15:35. Austin Springsteen of Mount Vernon-Lisbon was ninth.

Anna Holdiman of Waverly-Shell Rock won the girls race by 39 seconds, finishing in 13:51. Lauren Benzing of Solon ran past defending champion Madison Waymire of Dallas Center Grimes in the final half-mile to finish second in 14:30.

Benzing was the 2A champion in 2010, then the 3A runner-up in 2011 and 2012.

“I heard that I had two girls on my heels, so I knew I had to push,” Benzing said. “I just kept my eyes on (Waymire’s) back. I don’t have a great sprint at the end, but I do feel I’m pretty strong overall in the last 600 or 800 meters.”

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