SLAYTON - Murray County Central defended its 2012 conference title with a 25-point victory paced by the 1-2-3 individual finishes from Andy Garza, Clayton Hartle and Jack Erickson during the Red Rock Conference Cross Country Championship on Monday.
Garza won the 5,000-meter race with a time of 18 minutes, 20 seconds.
"That's what I was hoping for," Garza said. "My teammates really help me out, we push each other all the time."
Hartle finished second overall with a 18:32 finish followed by his teammate Erickson who claimed third with an 18:42.
"We had a good day," said MCC head coach Dominick Damm. "Our top three are very competitive with each other and we had a good pack finish from our fourth, fifth and sixth guys, too."
Mountain Lake Area was second in the team standings with 41 points followed by Adrian with 60.
Runners battled the elements, competing in less than ideal weather conditions.
In the girls race, Mountain Lake Area captured the team title with 37 points, edging Southwestern United by two.
MLA was led by Lydia Hildebrandt who ran to a second-place finish with her time of 16:19.
Adrian's Nichole Slater dominated the field with a time of 15:21 to win her first individual Red Rock Conference championship. She finished 58 seconds ahead of the next competitor.
"I felt good all the way," said Slater. "It's hard to believe that I am already a senior and this was my last conference race."
Slater took home a second-place finish at the 2012 conference meet and was excited to finish her high school career with a championship. Slater and her teammates earned third-place in the team standings with 44 points.
Area runners Melissa Gehl and Maddie Dibble of Murray County Central earned all-conference honors, finishing in the top ten. Gehl placed ninth with a time of 18:02 followed by Dibble in tenth with a time of 18:11.
RED?ROCK CONFERENCE MEET
Girls Team Standings 1. Mountain Lake/B-O 37, 2. Southwestern United 39, 3. Adrian 44.
Top Individuals 1. Nicole Slater (Adrian) 15:21; 2. Lydia Hildebrandt (ML/B-O) 16:19; 3. Rachel Salentiny (Southwestern) 16:21; 4. Whitney Klassen (ML/B-O) 16:55; 5. Elise Ver Hey (Southwest MN) 16:59; 6. MaKayla Edwards (Southwestern) 17:17; 7. Morgan Sauer (Adrian) 17:45; 8. Liana Blomgren (ML/B-O) 17:49; 9. Melissa Gehl (MCC) 18:02; 10. Maddie Dibble (MCC) 18:11.
Boys Team Standings 1. Murray County Central 25, 2. Mountain Lake/B-O 41, 3. Adrian 60.
Top Individuals 1. Andy Garza (MCC) 18:20; 2. Clayton Hartle (MCC) 18:32; 3. Jack Erickson (MCC) 18:42; 4. Taylor Recker (Adrian) 19:07; 5. Logan Knutson (Southwestern) 19:14; 6. Tommy Kraemer (ML/B-O) 19:56; 7. Ryan McCue (ML/B-O) 20:09; 8. Reynaldo Capetillo (ML/B-O) 20:32; 9. Aaron Fast (ML/B-O) 20:38; 10. Evan Blom (Southwest MN) 20:39.