Christopherson, Okoboji girls repeat as Siouxland champs
Magan Christopherson and the Okoboji girls cross country team repeated as Siouxland Conference champions Tuesday at the conference meet held at Otter Valley Golf Course in George.
Christopherson, a sophomore, earned her second individual conference championship with a final time of 20 minutes, 20.19 seconds, and along with third-place finisher Mari Stein, led the Pioneers to their second straight team championship with a total of 38 points.
Stein finished in 20:52.77.
"They ran, obviously, really well," Okoboji coach Brad Peter said of his girls' squad. "I think, since last year and the beginning of this year, the girls set a goal to try to go over there and repeat as conference champs. It hasn't been easy. We've had a lot of injuries and illness this year, and kids missing extended periods of time. But over the last week and a half, I thought they really gelled and became more consistent. I think you're starting to see that potential that was there at the beginning of the year. The kids ran great and competed well. Magan and Mari set the pace early and I think seeing them up front really helped everyone. It was a small meet, so seeing them up front, I think our girls could see what was going on and, from a competitive aspect, were able to complete the 5K well."
Joining Christopherson and Stein as All-Conference performers were Kallyn Stumbo, who finished eighth in 22:00.32, and Mia Meyer, who placed 15th in 22:37.73. All four runners were All-Conference performers a year ago.
"It's pretty cool," Peter said. "Those four were All-Conference last year too, so that was neat to see those four who have been to a lot of track stuff together and basketball stuff together and turn around and compete in cross country together and have success, I think, is pretty neat. I'm happy for them. They put in a lot of work in a lot of different sports and we're starting to see some of that pay off in cross country. I think they really support each other and that's been a key to their success."
Destiny Boon placed 18th in 22:53 for Okoboji. Paige Hilde was 23rd in 23:30.25. Ali Goehring was 29th in 25:01.19.
The Pioneers were followed by George-Little Rock/Central Lyon (73), Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (73), MOC-Floyd Valley (90), Sioux Center (96) and Sheldon (124).
The boys had a pair of All-Conference performers, as Ethan Albright placed sixth in 17:23.69 and Blake Abrahamson placed 12th in 17:55.46, against an extremely tough field.
"You're talking about three teams ranked in the top eight and four in the top 15," Peter said. "We went over there with a goal of trying to compete and beat as many teams as we can and, individually, try to really challenge ourselves. In this small meet, we talk a lot about being able to take a risk early because there's not enough kids that, if you struggle the last mile, will come rolling by you like they will at the district meet. Our kids took the challenge and went out really aggressively. In Blake's case, I think it paid off. It gave him an opportunity to see what he could do. I thought he grew more confident throughout the race. He ran the race of his life, and congrats to him for making All-Conference."
Jacob Lamb finished 20th for the Pioneers in 18:24.36. Corbin Doll placed 23rd in 18:41.59. David Alexander placed 32nd in 19:13.51. Kyle Thompson placed 35th in 19:24.75. Caleb Miller placed 38th in 19:32.49.
GLR/CL won the team title with 32 points.
The Mustangs were followed by Sioux Center (59), Okoboji (89), MOC-Floyd Valley (113), Sheldon (128), Sibley-Ocheyedan (145) and BH/RV (149).
The Pioneers return to action Thursday, Oct. 19 at the state qualifying meet in Lake City.
Peter believes his team gained confidence Tuesday that will propel them into the state qualifying meet.
"I think, obviously, every coach wants their kids to be running well and running their best at this time of the year," he said. "I think everyone can do that. I think our boys and girls gained a lot of confidence tonight. They know that they can compete with really good teams. A lot of it is coming down to Thursday if they believe they belong. I think our kids tonight found that, so I think that's going to help quite a bit."