SPENCER - With several runners competing in their first meet, the Estherville Lincoln Central/Armstrong-Ringsted girls and boys teams used it as a measuring stick to discover how they match up.
On the girls' side, Spencer won its home meet with 69 points. ELCAR finished seventh with 148 points.
Heather Natterstad stepped up to lead ELCAR with an 18th place finish in 17 minutes, 45 seconds over the 4K course.
ELCAR’s Nic Peters comes in with a photo finish during the season opening cross country meet in Spencer on Tuesday.
EDN photo by Chloe Rosdail
"That was her best race in over a year," said ELCAR coach Tina Burton.
Macy Dahl followed in 20th place in 17:52 while Rachel Bates finished 21st in 17:54.
"The top three girls were nine seconds apart," said Burton. "We still have some work to do to close the gap with the rest of the team. It's not because they're lacking in competitiveness-we just need to be stronger physically."
Rounding out ELCAR girls' team scoring, Brianna Enerson finished 42nd in 19:23 and Paige Taylor finished 47th in 19:47,
Non-counting scores were a 56th place finish by Coral Franklin in 20:34 and 74th place by Emily Jorgenson in 23:49.
It was the first cross country race ever for Bates and the first varsity meet for Jorgenson.
ELCAR was without the services of one senior, McKenzie Woodyard, who should help out once she's ready to run.
Algona finished second with 93 points followed by LeMars with 114, Bishop Garrigan with 130, Spirit Lake and Western Christian each with 138, Odebolt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove with 191, Emmetsburg with 234, Storm Lake with 286 and Cherokee with 310.
ELCAR boys finish 10th
The ELCAR boys' team had enough runners to count toward a team score for the first time in several years. The team finished 10th with 237 points.
Lee Christensen, a first-time participant, led the team with a 27th place finish in 19:08 over the 5K course.
Nic Peters was next in 32nd place in 19:30 while Martin Christensen finished 54th in 20:52, Kelly Clabaugh was 58th in 21:13 and Adam Reiter was 61st in 21:40.
"It's nice to have a full team," said Burton. "Some of these have never seen a cross country race before this. They're still trying to figure things out."
Burton said Martin Christensen ran his best ever.
"He's got a team to run with now," said Burton.
It also was the first cross country race for Reiter, a senior.
"We have two more that still have to run their first race," said Burton. "Hopefully they'll help out."
Spirit Lake won the boys race with 75 points followed by Western Christian with 87, Spencer with 94, Algona with 117, Storm Lake with 118, Okoboji with 133, LeMars with 164, Odebolt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove with 171, Bishop Garrigan with 177, ELCAR and Emmetsburg with 316.
ELCAR JV runs too
The ELCAR junior varsity girls finished fourth with 103 points. LeMars with with 36 while Western Christian and Spencer each had 58.
Hannah Newton led the JV with a 10th-place finish in 20:17. Colleen Humble placed 16th in 20:59, Taylor Karels placed 18th in 21:09; Claire Christensen placed 28th in 21:58, Kristian Peterson placed 31sth in 22:25, Emily Slaughter placed 41st in 23:59, Emilee Olson placed 45th in 24:32, Madison More placed 47th in 24:47 and Marissa Neusch placed 49th in 26:02.