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Lilly Boge races her way to a 10th-place medal at state.

A pair of top-15 finishes helped lead Western Dubuque’s girls cross country team to its best finish in school history as the Bobcats placed fourth as a team at the Class 3A State Cross Country Meet at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course in Fort Dodge, Oct. 29. WD placed 15th in Class 3A in 2011 and 12th in Class 4A in 2019.

Senior Lilly Boge led the Bobcats around the state course and earned a 10th-place medal in 19:30. Sophomore Alyssa Klein garnered a 14th-place medal in 19:36. The pair are the first Western Dubuque duo to earn state cross country medals in the same year.

“Lilly and Alyssa did an amazing job running where they did,” coach Mark Digmann said. “We anticipated going in that we could have two in the top-15 if things fell into place for us. Lilly closed out an amazing career as a senior, did it at the state meet, and made the deck on her own in her final race. Alyssa made it to state in her sophomore year and made it to becoming a two-time qualifier and will have the opportunity to be the first three-time qualifier next season. They were both deserving of this for all the time and work they put in not just in the season, but in the off-season also.”

Olivia Thul 56th (20:47), Audrey Biermann 72nd (20:54) and Leah Digmann 84th (21:06) rounded out the team scoring. Bella Meyers and Isabella Graber placed 85th (21:07) and 95th (21:20), respectively.

“We ran our best race of the day. I thought Olivia and Bella ran exceptionally well. Bella ran a PR by 23 seconds and Olivia was within five of hers,” coach Digmann said. “Isabella struggled a little bit with a knee injury that just popped up this week. Audrey and Leah didn’t finish where we thought they would, but their times were fine. I have said all along that if we had five girls that could run under 21:30 we’d be a very good team. We had six at or below 21:07. That effort on Friday, at the state meet, was good enough for fourth place overall. While we might be disappointed in not making our ultimate goal of getting a state trophy by finishing in the top-three, I am not at all disappointed in the effort these girls gave and the times they were able to put up.”

Solon won the Class 3A girls’ team title with 77 points. Ballard was second (103), Dallas Center-Grimes third (127), Western Dubuque fourth (165), Mount Vernon-Lisbon fifth (199), Carlisle sixth (205), Harlan seventh (212), MOC-Floyd Valley eighth (221), North Polk ninth (222), Spencer 10th (232), Glenwood 11th (239), Center Point-Urbana 12th (242), Gilbert 13th (249), Wahlert 14th (265) and Marion 15th (267).

The top-15 medalists were: first — Paityn Noe, Ballard, 18:12; second — Geneva Timmerman, ADM, 19:06; third — Ainsley Erzen, Carlisle, 19:13; fourth — Emily Haverdink, MOC-Floyd Valley, 19:16; fifth — Kayla Young, Solon, 19:19; sixth — Raegan Snieder, Pella, 19:27; seventh — Kaia Bieker, Harlan, 19:29.18; eighth — Kora Katcher, Center Point-Urbana, 19:29.64; ninth — Emma Bock, Solon, 19:30.70; 10th — Boge, WD, 19:30.95; 11th — Ava Vance, Ballard, 19:32; 12th — Peyton Morey, Spencer, 19:34; 13th — Moriah Knapp, Algona, 19:35; 14th — Klein, WD, 19:36.07; 15th — Ellie Meyer, Wahlert, 19:36.76.

Four underclassmen running at the state meet have coach Digmann hopeful for the future. “We need the four that are returning next year to remember what this feels like next summer,” he said. “While Isabella wasn’t near the 21-minute mark, she has been on a consistent basis all year. That means we have a starting point of four that can go below 21:00. If they move up and put the time in next summer, and we can get another one of our JV kids into that mix, we can make another run at it next year with the core of Alyssa, Olivia, Isabella and Bella.”