The Prior Lake girls cross country team has been one of the leaders of the pack this fall.
The No. 4-ranked Lakers ran stride for stride with No. 1 Edina at the Lakeville Apple Jack Invitational at Steve Michaud Park Sept. 17. The Hornets ended up winning 54 team points, four better than Prior Lake.
Fifth-ranked Lakeville South was a distant third in the 19-team field.
The Lakers also competed in the Hopkins Bauman/Rovn Invitational at Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista Sept. 9, finishing first in the 12-team field with 68 points. Lakeville South was second (75), followed by Marshall (92).
Eighth-grader Sara Gastony led the Lakers in both races. She won the Applejack invite, finishing the 5,000-meter course with a time of 19:01.30. She was fifth overall (19:06.20) in Minnetrista.
At the Applejack invite, the Lakers had five runners in the top 20, while Edina had three in the top eight and five in the top 22. The top five runners for each team count in the team standings.
Eighth-grader Keeley Mohling ended up 10th for Prior Lake (19:01.30), followed by ninth-grader Layla Vennink in 14th (20:11.10), eighth-grader Isabelle Reinders in 15th (20:14.70) and ninth-grader Sophia Basile in 18th (20:24.70).
Others who competed for the Lakers included junior Aubree Taylor (32nd, 21:23.80), eighth-grader Talia Bushman (36th, 21:34.90) and ninth-grader Maggie Hoen (49th, 21:45.70).
In Minnetrista, Mohling was again the Lakers’ second-fastest finisher taking eighth (19:40.10), while Reinders was 16th (20:35.20) and Basile ended up 17th (20:39.20).
Vennink finished 23rd (20:53.20), followed by Taylor (29th, 21:12.20) and Hoen (46th, 22:10.20).
Prior Lake and Edina are now in Section 2AAA together. The Minnesota State High School reclassified its sections last spring for all sports and cross country went to three classes.
The Lakers were moved out of Section 3, while Edina was taken out of Section 6 and both were placed in Section 2AAA. That section also includes second-ranked Minnetonka.
Prior Lake won the Section 3AA title last fall.
Meanwhile, the the Laker boys team also competed at the Applejack invite and ran in Minnetrista. But the team was without sophomore Hootie Haage for both races.
Hage is ranked No. 3 in the state in the latest Class 3A individual poll.
At the Applejack invite, the boys ended up 15th in the team standings with 457 points. Third-ranked Minneapolis Southwest won (74), followed by No. 5 Lakeville North (84) and No. 11 Lakeville South (125).
Sophomore Thomas Simmonds led the way for the boys team, finishing 42nd overall with a time of 18:05.90. Senior Zach Johnson ended up 62nd (18:05.90).
Other finishes included senior Tyler Schwen (135th, 19:52.90), senior Isaac Barbato (137th, 19:57.60), junior James Piper (145th, 20:23.50) and senior Johan Kolsrud (147th, 20:30.0).
In Minnetrista, Prior Lake was 16th with a team total of 420. Lakeville North and Minneapolis Southwest tied for first with 100 team points with Lakeville North winning the tiebreaker. Lakeville South was third (119).
Johnson led the boys taking 38th overall (17:43.20), while Simmonds ended up 50th (18:04.10).
Other finishers included Schwen (128th, 19:57.10), Barbato (136th, 20:17.20), Piper (138th, 20:21.20) and Kolsrud (145th, 20:37.20).
The Section 2AAA competition for both Laker teams will be Oct. 26 at Gale Woods. The South Suburban Conference Championships are before that, set for Oct. 15 at Eagan High School.
The Class AAA state competition is Nov. 6 at its annual site, St. Olaf College in Northfield.