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Cross Country

Notre Dame cross country’s Lauren Eftink wins first district title to lead team to state

Notre Dame cross country senior Lauren Eftink won the Class 3 District 1 Championship by taking first in Saturday’s race by recording a new personal best of 18 minutes, 43.7 seconds at home. Photo by Nick McNeal

On Saturday for the first time in her illustrious career, Lauren Eftink broke her own personal record time to her first-ever individual district championship in cross country for Notre Dame.

Eftink, who already posted the second-best 5K in school history earlier this season, finished with a time of 18 minutes, 43.7 seconds to win the Class 3 District 1 title. Lauren’s time was nearly one minute ahead of the runner-up, which was Metro sophomore Lucy Luetkemeyer at 19:33.17.

While accomplishing this personal feat, Eftink helped the Bulldogs girls team qualify for the upcoming Class 3 State Meet as Notre Dame had two other runners finish in the top 30 to bring home all-district honors.

Placing four spots behind Eftink at fifth overall was sophomore Lily Coy, who was under 10 seconds away from finishing the race inside 20 minutes at 20:09.74. Also finishing inside the top 15 was another underclassman for the Bulldogs in freshman Maria Avila Henao, who recorded a 13th-place finish at 21:49.71.

Placing right outside of the top 30 to be two spots shy of earning all-district was junior Kolby Grimes (23:11.6) in 32nd place, while fellow junior Lily Carr took 43rd (23:23.73) to be her team’s final top-five finisher.

Notre Dame sophomore Anna Turner came in at 44th place (24:25.58) right behind Carr as freshman Brynnan Grimes was the seventh and final runner for the Bulldogs, taking 60th (25:51.2).

Looking ahead to this Saturday’s Class 3 State Meet, the two-time Class 4 All-State medalist Eftink could be in line for a historic finish for Notre Dame. Lauren was the only district champion in Class 3 to finish their race in under 19 minutes this weekend: District 3 Champion Southern Boone senior Alexandra Volkart 19:18.77; District 4 Champion St. Michael senior Elsa Henry 19:31.64 and District 2 Champion Fair Grove freshman Katrina Cantwell 19:57.27.

The highest any runner has placed individually at state for the Bulldogs cross country team is third place on three separate occasions. Katie Hanners did so in 2016, while Alaina Baumgart and Elizabeth Kiblinger finished third at state in 2015 and 2011, respectively.

While competing up a classification at state the last two years, Eftink took 11th as a junior and 22nd her sophomore season in Class 4.

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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