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AUSTIN EDITION Packers' Munk places 14th, Bowers 28th in Big Nine girls competition

OWATONNA -- Austin was happy just to field a complete girls cross country team for the Big Nine Conference meet on Tuesday. Placing eighth out of 10 teams was an added bonus.

"This is our first placing in six years at Big Nine," Austin coach Tony Einertson said, "so the eighth-place finish is nice for the girls and nice for the program."

The Packers haven't had the necessary five girls to compete as a team in recent years. This year Austin had six runners in the race, won by host Owatonna.

Sophomores Katie Munk and Natalie Bowers paced the Packers on Tuesday. Munk placed 14th in 16:01 and was second team all-conference. Bowers was 28th in 16:52 and was honorable mention.

"Katie and Natalie both ran OK," Einertson said. "It certainly wasn't their best showing of the season."

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Munk slipped 11 notches after placing third in the Big Nine a year ago. This year the race was held in cooler weather with more wind.

"She just had an off day and she's fighting a little bit of an ankle problem, so that hampered her," Einertson said.

Bowers moved up 16 spots after placing 44th last season.

"She had a nice start to the race," Einertson said. But a sideache the last half mile cost Bowers about five spots.

Megan Wilson was just 10 seconds behind Bowers and placed 32nd for the Packers. The freshman dropped her time two minutes from the start of the season.

Molly Thatcher placed 49th and Michelle Dammen 55th to round out the Austin scoring. BIG; NINE CONFERENCE

Girls team scores

Owatonna 25, Century 68, Winona 84, Mankato West 123, Mankato East 140, Faribault 155, Mayo 156, Austin 178, John Marshall 243, Albert Lea 283.

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Individual results

1. Nicole McCann (Owatonna) 15:24; 2. Challis Firl (Century) 15:36; 3. Sam Running (Owatonna) 15:44; 4. Chelsey Daly (Owatonna) 15:45; 5. Megan Lundgrenn (Mankato East) 15:45; 6. Kaesy Janke (Owatonna) 15:46; 7. Julia Chapmann (Winona) 15:47; 8. Laura Ockey (Century) 15:53; 9. Erin Weler (Faribault) 15:54; 10. Amanda Umbefert (Mankato West) 15:55; 11. Tasheena Ellingson (Owatonna) 15:57; 12. Danielle Blom (Owatonna) 15:58; 13. Pam Chapman (Winona) 15:58; 14. Katie Munk (Austin) 16:01.

Austin results

14. Katie Munk 16:01; 28. Natalie Bowers 16:52; 32. Megan Wilson 17:02; 49. Molly Thatcher 17:50; 55. Michelle Dammen 18:12; 63. Ashley Bumgardner 18:59.

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