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Spring Valley girls' cross country team climb to the top, state champs!

The Cardinal team at the start of the Division 3 girls race.5 / 5

WISCONSIN RAPIDS - The disappointment of Breanna Colbenson's second place finish at the WIAA State Cross Country Meet Saturday at The Ridges Golf Course was completely wiped away as the whole Cardinal team won the championship.

The No. 8 ranked Cardinals edged out No. 1 ranked Darlington and defending two-time champion Oshkosh Lourdes in the team standings. SV had 108 points to Darlington's 110 and No. 9 Cedar Grove-Belgium's 123. No. 2 Lourdes finished in eighth place, one place behind No. 12 Colfax.

Colbenson's second place time of 14:44 still puts her in the top 10 all time at 4000-meters. Colbenson led the race for much of the way until the end with Ladysmith's Andrea Ostenso pulled past her with 3:05 split compared to Colbenson's 3:12 time.

But Colbenson's second place were important points for the Valley team which she has helped to lead these past few seasons. The close-together finishes for teammates Riley Bowman in 47th, Sara King 51st, Emma Gaustad in 52nd and Liz Anderson in 61st made the difference. All came in under 17 minutes, which was the goal the team set before the race.

"I told them if they could all shave another :15 seconds off their times from sectionals we would win it," SV head coach Jim Herold said.

King, in her first-ever state meet, passed up two Darlington runners on the hill near the finish line.

"I wasn't so much concerned about the hill with just keeping up with Riley and Emma," King said. "We took it hard we like we normally do and we passed a lot of runners."

Sophie Koch and Pearl Davis weren't with Spring Valley's scoring runners but they too passed by a few of their competitors to make sure they were ahead on the tie-breakers and also part of the state championship team. Koch finished 115th and Davis 124th, their times just under 18 minutes.

For the school the title is state championship No. 5 but it is the first for a Spring Valley girls' team.