WAVERLY — The Baxter girls’ cross country team welcomed back its No. 2 runner on Thursday, and junior Lauren Ratliff gave the Bolts the boost they needed to win their first Iowa Star Conference championship.
Junior Brenna Thomson finished third and Ratliff was sixth as the Bolts claimed the girls’ team title after placing all five scoring runners in the first 15 positions.
Official results were not available at press time. Unofficially, Baxter won the girls’ race with 34 points. GMG was second with 47 points and Collins-Maxwell grabbed third with 54 points.
“I am extremely proud of both teams for how they prepared for the race and how they competed,” Baxter coach Dennis Vaughn said.
“We had so many great efforts. We asked the runners to leave everything on the course, and they did just that.”
Thomson and Ratliff both earned all-conference honors as the top 10 runners in each race were named to the all-Iowa Star team. In the boys’ race, junior Ian Thomson finished second and sophomore Logan Berg was third.
The Baxter boys placed third as a team, trailing team champion Dunkerton and losing to Collins-Maxwell by two points.
Brenna Thomson finished third in the girls’ 5K with an unofficial time of 20 minutes, 39 seconds. Ratliff was sixth in 21:58. Senior Ashlee Johnson placed 11th in 22:35, sophomore Holly Jessen was 13th in 22:53 and freshman Kailee Conradi finished 15th in 23:02.
Ian Thomson’s second-place finish was unofficially clocked at 17:21. Berg finished his 5K in 17:27. Junior Josh Bruntz finished 11th in a career-best time of 18:17.
The Bolts compete in a Class 1A state qualifier at 4 p.m. Thursday in Mount Ayr.