Section 3A Meet If a state cross country meet were being held in 2020, Cottonwood County would be well-represented after Thursday's Section 3A Meet, held in Luverne.
The meet was held in six waves of four teams each throughout the day Thursday. At the conclusion of the six waves, all of the results were combined to determine who would have been team and individual state qualifiers.
The Mt. Lake Area boys team, running in the first wave of the day, set the bar for the meet and ended up outlasting most of the field, capturing section runner-up honors that, in a typical year, would have earned the team a trip to the state meet.
MLA finished with 129 team points, edging past third-place Redwood Valley's 132 and fourth-place Canby-Minneota's 134. Lac Qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd ran away with the team title, finishing with 24 points. Windom placed sixth in the boys' team standings with 164 points.
Meanwhile, two Windom girls runners would have advanced to the state meet as individuals, after the Eagle girls finished fifth in the team standings with 171 points. Luverne won the team title with 40 points, with Murray County Central/Fulda taking second with 49. MLA was 11th in the team standings with 251 points.
MLA boys Mt. Lake Area ran in the first heat of the day, with the boys running in the very first race of the day at 9:30 a.m.
The Wolverine boys were able to cut through the cold and the wind, with the freshman duo of Sam Pidde and Kody Wassman pulling away over the final loop of the race to finish first and second in MLA's heat.
When the results were combined, Pidde's time of 17:55 left him in 10th place overall, while Wassman placed 13th with a time of 18:06.
They were followed by Zach Klassen in 28th (18:48), Kaleb Eickhoff in 32nd (18:55) and Caden Swoboda in 49th (19:27).
Windom girls Windom, running in the day's third wave of teams, saw some stellar performances Thursday. Perhaps none was more surprising than that of eighth-grader Kaylee Walklin.
Walklin ran side-by-side with senior teammate Gracie Bucher for most of the first loop of the race before asserting control of the race on the second loop. After charging up the final hill, Walklin sprinted to the finish well ahead of the field in the Eagles' wave, winning the heat with a time of 20:28. When the final results were compiled, that time gave Walklin a ninth-place overall finish.
Bucher followed shortly after, crossing the finish line with a time of 20:49 to take second in the heat. Her time placed her 15th overall.
In a typical year, both Walklin and Bucher would have qualified for the state meet. State qualifiers are the top two teams, plus the top eight individuals not on a qualifying team.
Jadyn Wormstadt grabbed a 50th-place overall finish (22:40), followed by Haidyn Sammons in 58th (23:20) and Charlotte Nauman in 60th (23:23).
Windom boys A typical year would have also left the Windom team with a bit of heartbreak for senior Chance Elness.
Elness, who charged into second place in the Eagles' heat, crossed the finish line with a time of 18:13. When the results were combined and tabulated, that left Elness in 17th place, which would have left him one spot shy of qualifying for the state meet.
Conner Redman added a 27th-place finish (18:38), followed by Jacob Green in 33rd (18:57), Aaden Nauman in 41st (19:04) and Hunter Walklin in 50th (19:31).
MLA girls The Mt. Lake Area girls used a good pack run to control their heat.
Senior Anika Fast led the Wolverine pack, finishing fourth in the Wolverines' heat. Her time of 22:22 was good for 42nd place, overall.
Riley Schroeder followed in 48th place (22:33), followed by Kate Janzen in 63rd (23:28), Lydia Rete in 65th (23:32) and Jacey Klassen in 66th (23:35).