Led by Maria Kruse’s second-place time of 21:17, the Blazer girls took third in the team standings at the Clayton Ridge Invitational Sept. 7 at the Guttenberg Golf Course.

Madelyn Reiter ran to ninth in 23:31, followed by Maria Dudzik 12th (24:15), Ellie Recker 27th (26:14) and Jordan Thier 31st (27:10). Also running were Sydney Reiter 34th (27:55), Mary Reed 35th (28:10), Mallory Rea 51st (28:56), Paula Braun 57th (28:56), Marie Grebner 59th (30:21) and Chloe Goedken 76th (35:40).

In that team race, Sumner-Fredericksburg prevailed with 47 points and three runners in the top six. Elkader Central was next with 53, Beckman 81, Lansing Kee 86 (and the number one runner, Haley Meyer in 20:49), Prairie du Chien 92 and MFL MarMac 177.

Coach Tyson Squiers talked about the meet. “This is the first time in four years we’ve been able to get to Clayton Ridge, a meet we like because it is smaller and full of teams closer to our size. We had to run without a couple of varsity girls and I’m pretty sure we could have improved with them. As it was, both Maria and Madelyn earned medals. Several of the girls ran their fastest times this year. Paula made the biggest improvement, almost two minutes. The girls are doing a fantastic job of running as a team and are pushing each other. They have learned that it is easier to run with a teammate alongside, easier to be patient, something it typically takes time to learn. We’ve had success early and I am excited to see where it takes us. I think the girls were a little disappointed in our team finish, but the whole team finally got to race together and that is exciting.”

At the Monticello invite Sept. 11, the girls placed ninth among 12 teams with 211 points. Winning was Mid-Prairie with 60, followed by Monticello 74, Tipton 107, Jesup 111, Western Dubuque 116, Center Point-Urbana 136, Davenport Assumption 164, North Linn 190, BHS, Springville 269, Bellevue 291 and Anamosa 336.

Kruse beat her time from Clayton Ridge but placed 24th in this larger field, running 21:11. Julia Mertz was next, 31st (21:34), followed by Madelyn Reiter 43rd (22:24), Dudzik 55th (23:18) and Recker 69th (25:32). Sydney Reiter also ran, to 79th in 26:29.

“This was Maria’s season-best today,” said Squiers. “Julia also had a PR and Madelyn improved from the week before. Maria Dudzik has also been running great races in her rookie year. Julia, Madelyn and Maria Dudzik all cracked the school top 10 with their runs today, a huge day for any program. Ellie and Sydney both had season bests as well.”

In the JV race, the girls ran ninth as well, scoring 241 points. Tipton took it with 26, followed by Mid-Prairie 79, CPU 82, Monticello 91, Jesup 126, Assumption 154, WD 191, Wilton 199, BHS and North Linn, 292.

Scoring for the Blazers were Mary Reed 39th (26:05), Thier 42nd (28:08), Rea 51st (27:04), Braun 52nd (27:05) and Goedken 79th (30:13). Valery Meyer ran 86th (33:32). “Mary and Jordan ran PRs today, while Mallory, Paula and Chloe had season-bests. We did a lot of big things today and there is lots of season left.”

The middle school runners came in third (76), behind North Linn 27, and Anamosa 30. Autumn Domeyer led, 18th (15:52) in front of Gloria Hoeger 33rd (18:06), Catalina McGrane 35th (18:19), Maria McGrane 37th (19:05) and Andrea Schneider 40th (19:53).