the Decorah girls cross country team won its second straight state title and sixth in school history Saturday. Pictured are the girls with their trophy, from left, front row - Lydia Hayes, Maria McDonough, Hannah Hougen, Lindsay Vande Lune, Kelly Minear. Second row - Amanda Taylor, Linnea Kephart, Gara Lonning, Katie Perez, Stef Bjerke. Back row - Shauna Menke, Head Coach Cristy Nimrod, Assistant Coach Sarah Nowack. (Photo courtesy Clara Knudson)
Kelly Minear and the Decorah girls cross country team will never forget Nov. 2, 2013.
In 15:55.6, Minear etched her name into the record books by crossing the finish line sixth for the Vikes and 34th overall in the Class 3A state cross country meet, held in Fort Dodge Saturday.
With the Vikings and MOC-Floyd Valley tied with 108 points after each of their top-five runners had finished, Minear secured Decorah's second straight state title and sixth in team history by finishing ahead of MOC-Floyd Valley's sixth-place harrier.
The Viking girls weren't the only team celebrating big end-of-the-season accomplishments Saturday. The Decorah boys team, which last year claimed its 15th state title, earned third overall in Class 3A.
After a year hiatus from the big meet, the South Winn boys team came back with a roar, taking third in Class 1A. Their counterparts, the girls team, captured fourth overall in Class 1A, their best finish.
Individually, Turkey Valley's Ryan Izer blazed a trail on the course, standing on the deck by taking seventh in the Class 1A race.
If the Decorah girls team truly needed a total team effort, it was Saturday. Decorah had four runners back with state experience and went into the meet ranked No. 2 in the state.
Davenport Assumption went into the meet predicted to win the state title, with Decorah a close second and Spencer at third. MOC-Floyd Valley was ranked fourth.
It was the "every runner counts" philosophy that led Decorah to its sixth state title - 1976, '80, '82, '07 and '12.
Decorah's seven employed their pack running, with four of the harriers finishing within 10 seconds of another, to garner 108 team points. They had an average time of 15:41.2 and a spread of just 32.8 seconds, the smallest spread in Class 3A
MOC-Floyd Valley, which last year also tasted a second-place finish to Decorah's triumph, also secured 108 points and had a smaller average time of 15:40.0, but had a spread of 1:00.7.
Individually, freshman Tess Roorda of Pella, who went into the race ranked No. 2 in the class, won the class in 14:36.5. The top-three runners were freshman. Four runners crossed the finish line in under 15 minutes.
For the complete story and additional photos, pick up Decorah Newspapers at one of the many convenient locations throughout Decorah and Winneshiek County. Or, for 34 cents an issue, subscribe to Decorah Newspapers by calling (563) 382-4221.