Four runners in the top 15 were enough to earn the Prior Lake boys cross-country team a state berth.
The No. 9-ranked Lakers finished second in the Section 3AA race Oct. 24 at Valleywood Golf Course in Apple Valley with 66 points, which was three back of No. 8 Eastview. Eagan was a close third with 73 points.
The top two teams make state, along with the top eight individuals not on the advancing squads. The Laker boys will be making their fourth state appearance in the last six years, also qualifying in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
Meanwhile, the Prior Lake girls qualified two individuals — seventh-graders Layla Vennick and Maggie Hoen. The team was sixth in the team standings with 150 points. Ninth-ranked Rosemount won the crown (36), followed by East Ridge (61), Bloomington Jefferson (98) Eagan (118) and Eastview (139).
Visitation ended up seventh (189) ahead of Henry Sibley (196), Burnsville (256), Bloomington Kennedy (283), Simley (329), Apple Valley (339), Richfield (358) and Park (359).
On the boys side, Rosemount finished fourth (94), followed by East Ridge (127), Apple Valley (175), Burnsville (199), Jefferson (205), St. Thomas Academy (242), Henry Sibley (252), Holy Angels (343), Park (345), Kennedy (359), South St. Paul (395), Simley (424) and Richfield (516).
The Class AA state meet is set for Nov. 2 at its annual site, St. Olaf College in Northfield.
Juniors Gabe Smit and Kyle Nordling will be making their third-career state appearance for the Prior Lake boys. Smit challenged for the Section 3AA title, but ended up second with a time of 15:44.9, which was 11 seconds behind champion AJ Green of Eastview.
Nordling ended up fifth (16:04.3), while eighth-grader Hootie Hage was 14th (16:14.2) and junior Magnus O’Connor was 15th (16:18.6).
The top five runners count in the team standings. Junior Blake Vander Weide was the No. 5 runner for the Lakers, finishing 30th (16:55.4). Juniors John Meagher and McKoy Ross also competed for Prior Lake, finishing 33rd (17:04.5) and 50th (17:30.1), respectively.
On the girls side, Vennick ended up 11th overall with a time of 19:20.5, while Hoen garnered the final individual state spot taking 17th (19:34.5).
Seventh-grader Brooke Everson was the next-best finisher for the girls team taking 23rd (19:54.4), ahead of junior Olivia Zastrow in 44th (21:04.6), ninth-grader Adeline Knutson in 55th (21:24.3), junior Katherine Kaisersatt in 60th (21:39.9) and seventh-grader Kate Anderson in 65th (22:07.0).
Last fall, the Prior Lake girls were the section runner-up to make state, where the team was 16th in the team standings. The girls had a dominant 12-year state run starting in 2001 where the program went to state 10 straight years from 2003 to 2012.
The Laker boys were eighth in the state team standings in both 2014 and 2015 and they finished 14th in 2017.
Smit ended up 22nd overall at state last year, while Nordling was 85th. In 2017, Smit was 69th, while Nordling was 147th.
Edina is the defending state boys champion, while St. Michael-Albertville won the girls crown last year.