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No. 15 ranked Ellsworth boys CC wins Durand Invite, girls second

Kennedy Kowalchky is ahead of several runners on her way to the finish line.2 / 2

DURAND - Ellsworth High School's boys cross country, one of the top 16 teams in the state in Division 2, showed why winning Thursday's Durand Invitational meet at Rolling Greens Golf Course.

Ellsworth had five of its scoring runners finish in the top 18 which is exactly what head coach Jon Dodge wanted.

"Our times won't be all that great because this is a difficult course and deceptively hilly," Dodge said. "So our focus was not on times as it was on how we placed."

The Panthers' Matt Priest finished second, Ike Taplin, fifth; Jay Pavloski seventh; Lucas Green, 12th and Isaac Benck was 18th.

Spring Valley placed seventh in the meet out of 13 schools and Elmwood had an incomplete team. SV's Lance Snyder finished in 15th place in 19:29.

Dodge was very pleased with the way Ellsworth's girls team finished, taking second behind MBC rival Baldwin-Woodville 49-52. The Panthers Cassie Lofgren finished third in 17:29 and Kennedy Kowalchyk fourth in 17:31. Rebecca Matzek was 12th for Ellsworth, Payton Bjorkman 18th and Kesley Betthauser 23rd.

"They've worked awfully hard to improve and now I feel very good about our chances for a top-four finish in a tough conference field." Dodge said.

Spring Valley ran a JV squad as its main varsity team gets ready for Saturday's Griak Invitational while Elmwood was incomplete. SV finished ninth out of 13 schools.

See more on the Durand Invitational in this week's Herald.