Cross-Country: Lake City's Dammann clinches state berthDespite taking a tumble, Lake City senior Carston Dammann finished in fourth in the Section 1A championship Thursday
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
ROCHESTER - The Lake City boys cross-country team had its top two runners fall down at the same spot Thursday during the Section 1A cross-country meet at Northern Hills Golf Course, but both recovered and finished in the top 25.
Senior Carston Dammann was accidently hip-checked by a Byron runner while crossing a bridge, opening a gash on his shin, while in fourth place. But he still managed to finish sixth overall and qualify for the Class 1A state boys cross-country meet Nov. 3 at Saint Olaf College in Northfield.
“It was more of a mental stumble on the bridge,” Dammann said of the fall. “It was feeling good to that point. My first thought was ‘I’ve got to get up and get going again.’ I didn’t know I was bleeding until the end of the race. I just knew it wasn’t feeling as good.”
Dammann ran the 5,000-meter race in 17 minutes, 14 seconds.
“Today, I was shooting for second through fifth,” Dammann said. “Obviously that didn’t happen but (making state) was the ultimate goal.”
The Tigers’ second-fastest runner Thursday was eighth-grader Carl Kozlowski, who finished the race in 18:20.2, good for 23rd place despite also falling on the bridge. Cook said he nearly fell into the water.
“They did such a nice job of getting up and going; we’re very proud of that,” Lake City head coach Howard Cook said. “The bridge had mud I guess and we don’t wear spikes.”
Those two runners helped the Tigers take sixth out of 22 teams in a strong field.
“Finishing sixth with that puppy dog group, I’m pleased,” Cook said of his underclassmen-laden team.
Sophomore Colin Fritz was next in for Lake City with a time of 18:49.5, good for 39th. Eighth-grader Cole Willers placed 63rd and ninth-grader Risdon Kaartinen came in 71st as the Tigers’ final scored runner.
The Tigers’ girls team finished fourth overall, narrowly missing entrance into the state tournament as a team, and also had two individuals nearly qualify for the state tournament.
Lake City ninth-grader Morgan Dammann and seventh-grader Liv Kozlowski finished 15th and 16th overall, respectively, and were the final two runners to miss qualifying. Every runner from the top two teams qualify for the state meet, and the top eight individuals outside of those two teams also compete in the state tournament.
“We ran about as well as we could,” Cook said. “It would have been nice if one of those ladies would have made it in. We closed (the gap) from last week but not enough.”
At the conference meet Oct. 16, the Tigers placed third but were 60 points behind. On Thursday, just 30 points separated Lake City from a spot in the state race.
“We felt that we had a chance when we went in,” Cook said.
Sophomore Hannah Alitz came in 19th in 16:44.9, junior Samantha Keller was 33rd in 17:08.3 and sophomore Becca Goertzen took 36th for the Tigers. Lake City will return all seven of its runners from the varsity race next season.
The Class 1A state cross-country meet will take place Saturday Nov. 3 at Saint Olaf College in Northfield.