Christensen wins third straight NCC title

EAGLE GROVE – Tiffany Christensen continued to look every bit like a state title contender here Tuesday night.

Running on her home cross country course in frigid conditions, the third-ranked (Class 1A) Eagle Grove senior won her third straight North Central Conference individual title, clocking a mark of 15:16.26. Humboldt’s No. 7 (3A) senior Sam Larson (15:23.43) settled for runner-up honors.

“It feels good, but I thought Sam deserved (a victory), too,” said Christensen, who placed third at state in 2012. “We were just going back and forth the whole way. Both of us would speed up and then both of us would slow down. I barely had any energy left at the end.”

Christensen’s previous NCC crowns came in times of 15:34 and 14:57. She has now collected six gold medals in as many meets this fall.

“The cold really didn’t bother me (Tuesday),” Christensen said. “I feel like I’m pretty much at the same point as I was last year at this time.”

In the team race, No. 8 Humboldt prevailed with 35 points. Last year’s NCC champion Algona (74) and Iowa Falls-Alden (103) were second and third. St. Edmond (181) was ninth.

Other Wildcat counters were 26th-ranked Maddie Kampen (4th, 16:16.08), Sophia Luu (5th, 16:28.00), Kate Curran (9th, 16:47.38) and McKennan Myott (15th, 17:18.91).

“We knew we had a good chance of winning coming in,” said HHS head coach Dean Clasen. “Sam was about 12 seconds faster than she was a week ago (here at the Dick Bell Invitational). Maddie had another good race, and Sophia and Kate also had huge efforts for us. I feel like we’re really starting to come around as a team.”

Jaci Taylor (26th, 18:05.72), Madi Reel (31st, 18:14.45), Kara Salinas (39th, 18:40.47), Leah Cosgrove (40th, 18:41.17) and Joeli Koenig (45th, 18:56.14) all competed for the Gaels.

“This was the first time all season that our girls beat another conference school,” SEHS head coach Mike Szalat said. “We got out faster and dropped our times. Our top JV girls put some pressure on some of our varsity girls, as well.”

Algona’s No. 11 (3A) Tangy Wiseman (3rd, 16:55.95), Webster City’s Allie Flaws (11th, 17:03.18), Clarion-Goldfield’s Mackenzie Alberts (12th, 17:03.67) and Bishop Garrigan’s Erin Quinlin (13th, 17:08.20) highlighted the action for each of their programs.