Austin’s Nadia Vaughn, left, tries to hold off Owatonna’s Kaitlin Bruessel (1923) during a Big Nine Conference cross country meet at the Mower County Fairgrounds on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Rocky Hulne/Austin Herald)

AUSTIN — Despite adding another team to the mix and deepening the pool of runners, the Owatonna High School cross country teams sustained its early-season dominance at Thursday’s Big Nine Conference triangular in Austin at the Mower County Fairgrounds.

The girls secured the first, third and fifth positions and sailed past Red Wing and the host Packers with just 22 total points. The Wingers finished a distant second with 48 against Austin’s 62.

The boys also fortified themselves within the upper-tier of the final standings — clocking the two-fastest times and four of the top five — and finished with 18 points, well ahead of Austin (43) and Red Wing (76).

“We’ve got veterans running well and some young girls making some move to too,” OHS girls coach Dan Leer said. “Girls really competed today; fast course, great weather good combination.”

Gradually pulling away from Nora Hanson as the 5K race stretched into the final leg, Owatonna freshman Carsyn Brady ultimately crossed the finish line almost exactly 20 seconds ahead of her Red Wing counterpart and 23 seconds ahead of teammate Zinash Valen.

Brady finished the course in 19 minutes, 39.73 seconds and established a season-best time along the way. Hanson was next at 19:56.47 and was matched stride-for-stride with Valen, who posted a third place time of 19:59.95.

Austin’s top performer, Marissa Shute, came in fourth and was followed directly by a trio of Huskies, including Jaci Burtis (21:04), Kaitlin Bruessel (21:23) and Anna Cox (21:30).

In the boys race, Preston Meier captured his third blue ribbon the season and set the pace with a 16:40.62. Brayden Williams came in second at 17:07.04.

Austin’s Jackson Marsh shoe-horned himself between of a stack of Huskies in the third position as Owatonna accounted for the next three-fastest times: Trevor Hiatt (17:10), Connor Ginskey (17:14) and Jack Meiners (17:15).

“It was another outstanding day for the boys,” OHS boys coach Dave Chatelaine said of his team that has won each of its first three competitions this fall. “Our pack-running was dominant.”

The Huskies’ next race will be their first home meet of the season when they host a triangular on Thursday, Sept. 17 at Brooktree Golf Course. The girls race is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m., roughly 90 minutes prior to the boys at 5 p.m.

The junior varsity will take the course between the two varsity races.

Reach sports editor Jon Weisbrod at 444-2375, or follow him on @OPPJonW. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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