The Osakis cross country teams took on the best of the Central Minnesota Conference field during Tuesday's championship meet and came home with two top-five finishes.
The meet was at Kimball this season in what Osakis head coach Justin Dahlheimer called a challenging course.
"The kids responded well," Dahlheimer said. "It's great to see both programs in the top five. Only one other school could boast that and it is a testament to the buy-in kids have to what we are doing and the growing depth of each team. Conference is our dress rehearsal for next week's Section 6A meet. The effort level was fantastic."
The Osakis boys placed fourth (119 points) in the nine-team field, while the girls finished fifth with 149 points. Maple Lake won the girls championship with 42 points. The boys title went to Holdingford with 49 points.
The Osakis boys were paced by junior Will Alverson and sophomore Carter Grove. Alverson was ninth individually in a time of 18:31.78, while Grove was two spots behind in 11th (18:32.78).
"Will's really been coming on these last three weeks," Dahlheimer said. "Carter finished very close behind in an all-conference-honorable mention spot. Carter was very aggressive in this race, and he was rewarded with his first all-conference designation of his career."
Junior Brandon Boogaard was third for Osakis and 24th overall in 19:41.16. Freshmen Brently Boogaard (20:32.53) and Logan Grove (21:25.03) were 34th and 41st, respectively. Sophomore Xavier Pahl finished 50th (21:51.88) and senior Shane Massmann rounded out the lineup in 51st place (22:09.76).
"Just a week ago, Pierz beat us and it's fun to see the boys jump them in the standings at a meaningful meet," Dahlheimer said. "We look forward to continuing that improvement next week."
Senior Lauren Savageau continued her big season by placing fourth individually in 21:01.04. That earned her all-conference honors.
"This was one of Lauren's best races, considering the challenge the course brought and the meaningful nature of the race," Dahlheimer said. "Last year, she finished one spot outside of all-conference, and she rebounded this year, finishing higher than she ever has at this meet. It takes a mature athlete to circle a goal and leave the items out of her control out of focus."
Freshman Grace Oeltjen was second for Osakis and 22nd overall in 22:41.85. Freshman Destiny Dorman was 34th (23:30.60) and fellow freshman Anna Wolf shaved time off her finish from a week ago to score for Osakis with a 44th-place finish (24:46.30). Junior Rachel Walsh was 45th (24:50.77), sophomore Hailey Hagedon was 50th (25:58.61) and junior Elizabeth Pahl rounded out the lineup in 54th place (26:21.36).
"The girls were aggressive in this race and the course wasn't very forgiving, so we will harness that aggression next week at Long Prairie and put together some complete races," Dahlheimer said. "I love seeing that effort, and it will translate into good results."
The Long Prairie Golf Club is where the Section 6A meet is held this year. Things will get started at 4 p.m. on Oct. 26 with spots to the state meet on Nov. 4 on the line.
CENTRAL MINNESOTA CONFERENCE MEET
GIRLS TEAM SCORES - Maple Lake - 42; Eden Valley-Watkins-Kimball - 43; Howard Lake-Waverly - 53; Pierz - 124; Osakis - 149; Paynesville - 151; Holdingford - 169; St. John's Prep - 226; Royalton - 239
BOYS TEAM SCORES - Holdingford - 49; Paynesville - 81; Howard Lake-Waverly - 82; Osakis - 119; Pierz - 140; St. John's Prep - 154; Maple Lake - 159; Royalton - 203; EV-W-K - 211