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Packers take sixth, seventh at state meet

The West Fargo girls team leaves the starting line Saturday during the North Dakota Class A state cross country meet in Fargo. David Samson / Forum Communications Co.1 / 2
West Fargo's Darin Baltezore crosses the finish Saturday. David Samson / Forum Communications Co.2 / 2

Neither the boys nor girls Packer cross country teams were favored to win Saturday's North Dakota Class A state meet at Rose Creek Golf Course.

It was no surprise, then, when Fargo Davies took the girls team crown with 47 points, and Bismarck finished first for the boys after accumulating just 17 points.

While the Packers did not win, that does not mean they did not put up a good showing.

"Overall, we were hoping to place in the Top 5, but we knew it was going to be close," West Fargo coach Joe Bailey said.

West Fargo was a distant sixth with 187 points in the boys leg, while its girls took seventh with 193 points. Coincidentally, the girls matched their state finish from a year ago, but actually improved by 18 points.

"Other teams ran a little bit better than we did, but we still had a great season," Bailey said.

The Packers boys team slipped a bit from 2010, when they took fourth place at state with 148 points. And just a few weeks ago, they were conference champions at the East Region meet in Fargo; their third title in four years.

Likewise, the West Fargo girls team did well at the East Region meet, finishing runner-up with 80 points. They took conference titles in three straight years from 2007-09.

Two Packer boys came home with All-State honors, which are given to the Top 20 finishers in each class.

Darin Baltezore led West Fargo with a time of 16 minutes, 29.1 seconds for 15th place on the 5,000-meter course. He improved by more than a minute over last year's state attempt, in which he placed 25th.

Also at Wednesday's race, Austin Albrecht was less than 20 seconds behind his Packer teammate, and edged Dickinson's Michael Porter by 2 seconds for 20th place. Albrecht also improved on his finish from last year, shaving off 1:07 and improving 18 spots.

Both Packers also were All-Conference runners, along with Griffin Sauvegeau, Erich Hahn and Nathan Aswege (who placed 31st at state with a time of 17:08.3).

On the girls' side, West Fargo was paced by Christine Baltezore. The junior finished the 4,000-meter run in 15:32 for 23rd place. The time was 22 seconds faster than last year's state meet, but did not best her 21st placing.

Andrea Milbrath was 37th after running 15:55.8, and teammate Leah Hermanson was less than half a second back to take 38th. All three Packers also earned All-Conference honors earlier this season, along with Jen Dufner.

Taking first in the boys individual race at state was Bismarck's Jake Leingang, who broke the tape in 14:59.8.

In the girls individual race, Fargo Davies' Tarin Lachowitzer finished in 14:16.7 for the championship.