It sure looks like the Prior Lake boys cross-country team is the team to beat in Section 3AA.
The No. 9-ranked Lakers won the South Suburban Conference Championships Oct. 11 at Eagan High School, finishing with 56 points. Prior Lake had two runners in the top three in juniors Gabe Smit and Kyle Nordling.
Seventh-ranked Eastview was second (67), followed by Rosemount (67), Farmington (114), No. 10 Eagan (122), Lakeville North (151), Lakeville South (176), Apple Valley (196), Burnsville (229) and Shakopee (271).
Four of the top-five finishing teams are in Section 3AA with Farmington in Section 1AA.
Meanwhile, on the girls side, Prior Lake was further back in the pack. The Lakers finished eighth with 183 points, followed by Burnsville (248) and Apple Valley (297).
Fourth-ranked Farmington won the crown (38) ahead of No. 9 Rosemount (50), Lakeville South (82), Eagan (131), Lakeville North (161), Shakopee (165) and Eastview (177).
The Section 3AA meet is set for Oct. 24 at Valleywood Golf Course in Apple Valley. The top two teams make the state field, along with the top-eight individuals not on the advancing squads.
The Laker boys have made state as a team three times since 2013, including 2014 and 2017.
At the SSC Championships, Smit was runner-up on the 5,000-meter course with a time of 16:30.4, while Nordling was close behind in third place (16:36.6).
Prior Lake had a tight pack behind Smit and Nording with junior Magnus O'Connor in 16th (17:08.0), junior Blake Vander Weide in 17th (17:11.5) and eighth-grader Hootie Hage in 18th (17:11.5). Junior John Meagher finished 38th for the Lakers (18:00.5), and junior McKoy Ross was 41st (18:05.4).
For the Prior Lake girls, three seventh-graders led the way. Brooke Everson was 30th (21.10.0), followed by Layla Vennink in 32nd (21:17.7) and Maggie Hoen in 33rd (21:18.4).
Other finishes for the girls included junior Olivia Zastrow (47th, 21:54.8), ninth-grader Adeline Knutson (54th, 22:22.5), junior Kate Kaisersatt (58th, 22:42.5), seventh-grader Amanda McRoberts (63rd, 22:52.6), seventh-grader Kathryn Anderson (66th, 22:59.0), senior Adaline Hiveley (67th, 23:01.0) and junior Katie Nollette (76th, 24:25.5).
This year's Class AA state meet is set for Nov. 2 at St. Olaf College in Northfield.