Photo courtesy of Ryan Kotajarvi

Already the state record holder in the 3,200-meter run on the track, Minneapolis Washburn senior Emily Covert made Minnesota cross-country history as the first girl to break the 17-minute barrier in a 5,000-meter race.

Covert, the defending Class 2A state champion, won the Section 6 race on Wednesday at Gale Wood Farms in a time of 16:56.4. She bested a strong field by more than one minute.

That's an incredible pace of about 5:27 per mile.

The Minnesota State High School League increased the distance of girls’ competitions to 5,000 meters in 2015.

Covert flirted with the 17-minute mark at the beginning of this season, going 17:07.9 to win the St. Olaf Showcase.

Covert won the 3,200 title on the track last spring in 10:06.19.

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