EAU CLAIRE — The goal had been there well before the season began.
On Saturday, the Menomonie girls cross country team achieved the goal, taking first place at the Big Rivers Conference championships.
The Mustangs finished with a score of 49 to beat out Hudson (63) and Eau Claire Memorial (64) for a conference title.
“Our girls began talking about this race five months ago, in early June when summer running started. They spent five months training and getting ready just for this day” Menomonie coach Craig Olson said. “I was really proud of our girls. They battled extremely well in the rain, running excellent races. They went out at pace for the first two miles, then made a move. By the 4k they were in a great position to go after a victory.”
Madeline Palmer crossed the finish line in 19 minutes, 36.1 seconds to take third place. Paige Anderson was about five seconds behind Palmer as she finished in fourth.
Taking third and fourth was the program’s best combined finish for the team’s top two runners, Olson said.
Isabella Jacobsen placed 11th, Rachel Dietrich was 12th and Ali Ruch took 19th.
Emma Mommsen and Julia Skorzcewski also earned top-25 finishes.
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Hudson’s Rachel Ball completed the course in 19:07.2 to take first place with Hudson’s Alicia Belany in second (19:29.3).
Menomonie will compete at a Division 1 sectional at New Richmond on Saturday.
Schwartz takes fourth for Menomonie boys
At Eau Claire, Menomonie’s Patrick Schwartz finished in fourth to lead the boys cross country team at the Big Rivers championships.
Schwartz crossed the finish line in 16:21.5. Hudson’s Tony Weeks won the race (16:08.3) while River Falls’ Mason Shea (16:10.8) and Hudson’s Noah Lundeen (16:14.2) took second and third, respectively.
Menomonie came in fourth as a team with a score of 96. River Falls won the conference title with a score of 37.
Morgan Selchow finished 11th for the Mustangs while Joel Anderson was 16th. Connor Norby finished 29th and Ethan Phillips took 36th.