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Cross-Country: Trost clinches another section title; Lake City girls state bound

Cannon Falls' Emi Trost nears the finish line to win her third consecutive Section 1A championship with a time of 14 minutes, 44.1 seconds during the section championship meet Thursday at Northern Hills Golf Course in Rochester. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)1 / 3
Lake City's Sidney Renelt (middle) pulls away from runners from Rochester Lourdes and Stewartville on the way to a 16th-place finish in the Section 1A championship. Renelt and the Tigers are headed to state after placing second with a team score of 120. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)2 / 3
Lake City's Carl Kozlowski (right) holds off Hayfield's Gabe Tempel for a sixth-place finish in the Section 1A championship meet Thursday in Rochester. Kozlowski is headed to state after finishing in 17 minutes 18.7 seconds. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)3 / 3

ROCHESTER – Although she has dominated Northern Hills Golf Course to the tune of two straight Section 1A championships, Cannon Falls senior Emi Trost has struggled at the course by her standards.

“I always feel horrible at this race,” Trost said. “It’s always cold and windy, so today, I wanted to feel really good for this one.”

The cold and wind were present throughout Thursday’s section championship, but it didn’t slow down Class 1A’s top-ranked runner as she ran her best-ever time on the course to secure her third straight Section 1A title with a time of 14 minutes, 44.1 seconds, over 58 seconds faster than her nearest competition, Chrissy Lofgren of Stewartville (15:42.0).

“I wanted to break 15 (minutes),” Trost said. “Two years ago, I got 15 even … (last year) was 15:26 and that wasn’t a good year for me. … I felt good and that’s all I wanted to do.”

Building up to her final section meet, Trost spent the day reading through bible verses and listening to music. That’s when she found the motivating words she was looking for.

“There’s this one song called ‘Steal My Show’ by TobyMac that says, ‘Gotta steal my show/take it away/I’ll put you in the spotlight,’ and that’s what I wanted to do,” Trost said. “That was my prayer today, ‘God, take it away and steal my show.’”

Thursday’s section championship did provide a bittersweet moment for the two-time Class 1A runner-up as she ran with her teammates for the last time. Fellow Bomber Katherine Hoffman finished in 14th at 16:29.9, but missed the state cut. But with one more meet to prepare for, Trost will rely heavily on the teammates she’s worked with all year to get her ready for one last shot at a state championship.

“It was my last meet running with the team and it’s a little sad,” a teary-eyed Trost said. “The week between sections and state, it’s cool, it’s special, it’s important that they’re there with me.”

Lake City girls state bound

No matter what has ailed the Lake City girls cross-country team, the Tigers’ depth has carried them far in 2013.

And thanks to a pack that was separated by just 30 seconds, Lake City is headed back to state for the first time since 2002 after taking second in the section with a team score of 120. Dover-Eyota was first with 54 points, and Plainview-Elgin-Millville placed third with 156.

“We were just excited because we didn’t know if P-E-M was going to get ahead of us,” said Lake City eighth-grader Sidney Renelt, who was the team’s top runner with a time of 16:31.9.

Towards the end of the season, the Tigers were dealing with several illnesses. Top runner Liv Kozlowski was coming off a bout with pneumonia, and Morgan Dammann dealt with Mono earlier this season. But it was no matter for Lake City as the other runners on the team picked up the pace to secure the state berth.

“It comes back to those seven girls and somebody picking it up,” said Tigers’ head coach Howard Cook. “Everybody who had to step up did and that’s what they’re about. They have that ability. Nobody feels like they’re the seventh runner; they feel like they’re one of seven.”

Dammann finished 21nd (16:42.2), Lydia Taylor took 22rd (16:43.3), Hannah Alitz was 28th (16:56.9) and Samantha Keller rounded out the team scoring at 33rd (17:01.8).

“We work together as a team and we try to stick together,” Renelt said. “Our goal is to be 30 seconds from the first runner to the seventh runner.”

As Dammann continues to get better – Cook said she was “finally running healthy” on Thursday – the team’s depth has been a relief in her recovery.

“It was definitely frustrating this year not being able to run to my full potential,” Dammann said. “Having that reassurance that our team was that deep and that we could do it really helped.”

Cannon Falls placed seventh as a team with 231 points. Goodhue took 19th with 516, led by Cassie Voth’s 46th-place time of 17:22.4.

Tigers’ Kozlowski headed to state

Racing in a pack of upperclassmen can be a daunting task for a wide-eyed freshman, but Lake City’s Carl Kozlowski wouldn’t back down.

Running in the top 10, Kozlowski saw one runner, Lewiston-Altura/Rushford-Peterson’s Austin O’Hare, pull ahead of him. Then, Kozlowski heard footsteps.

“All of a sudden, I hear this guy behind me,” said Kozlowski, who was trying to fight off Hayfield's Gabe Tempel. “The last 50 meters, I say, ‘I’m not going to get by him, too.’ I kicked it down quick and got past him.”

Kozlowski finished in sixth place with a time of 17:18.6 to earn a bid in the Class 1A state championship meet.

“Those were all seniors and juniors (in the top 10) except for Carl and a kid from La Crescent (Zach Emery),” Cook said. “Carl was really going with those older kids.”

Kozlowski added, “Those guys kept pushing it and pushing it. The second mile, the group in front started to break off and the last mile as just a guts race.”

The Tiger boys looked to join the girls’ team at state, but Lake City took third with 116 points, missing out on a state berth. Plainview-Elgin-Millville won the section title with 90 points, while Winona Cotter placed second with 108.

Led by Bjorn Pearson’s 40th-place time of 18:39.4, Cannon Falls placed 16th with 395 points. Goodhue, paced by Ryan Alpers’ 79th-place finish (19:51.1) took 18th with 470 points.

Rochester Lourdes’ Ian Torchia won his second straight Section 1A title with a time of 16:07.1, beating Cotter’s Matt Schrupp by 56 seconds.

The boys and girls state meet is Saturday, Nov. 2 at St. Olaf College in Northfield. The Class 1A girls race begins at 1 p.m., followed by the boys Class 1A race at 2 p.m.

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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