Minnesota’s elite girls' distance runners dominated the Nike Cross Nationals Heartland Regional on Sunday, taking four of the top five spots.
Minneapolis Washburn senior Emily Covert, who recently defended her Class 2A state cross-country title, won her first regional meet in Sioux Falls, S.D., in a time of 17 minutes, 6.3 seconds.
Winona Cotter sisters Grace and Lauren Ping placed second and third. Farmington’s Anna Fenske took fourth. Grace Ping won the Class 1A state meet Nov. 3 and Fenske was the 2A champion in 2016.
All four, along with top two teams Wayzata and Edina, qualified for the national meet to be held in December in Portland, Ore.
In the boys’ race, Class 2A champion Acer Iverson of Roseville placed fourth and Wayzata’s Andrew Brandt finished sixth. Both advance to the national meet.
Mounds View won the team crown with Edina, Stillwater and Wayzata grabbing third through fifth.
For Mounds View, winning the regional meet qualifies the Mustangs for their first Nike Cross Nationals in program history.
"We were thinking about NXN for a long time, it was a distant goal," senior Austin Streit told Cory Mull of MileSplitUSA.com. "We all knew it was a possibility. After the state meet, we came in and we knew we had a shot to do something special and for the first time in our program's history, we're going to go to NXN. We're all excited."