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Head of the pack again
Times photos: Mark Nesbitt From left, Darlingtons Tatum Evenstad, Amy Jorgenson and Taryn Evenstad were three of the Redbirds top six finishers Monday as Darlington defeated Pecatonica-Arygle.
DARLINGTON - With dozens of parents on hand for Parents' Night, both the Darlington girls and boys cross country teams used security in numbers to win a rare dual meet with Pecatonica-Argyle.

The Darlington girls cross country team had a pack of six girls finish tied for the top spot, including Taryn Evenstad, Amy Jorgenson, Tatum Evenstad, Harley Douglas, Christa Wamsley and Claire Scott, who all finished the 4,000-meter course at Darlington High School Monday with a time of 17 minutes, 39 seconds.

"Our goal was to have seven runners finish ahead of their first runner," Taryn Evenstad said.

Pecatonica-Argyle sophomore Kendra Sigg took seventh (17:46).

The Redbirds also received top-10 performances from Hannah Huffman, eighth (17:58); Hannah Robiolio, ninth (18:03) and Shawni Smith, 10th (18:05).

"We wanted to get a conservative start and settle in," Darlington coach Arnie Miehe said of both his girls and boys cross country teams. "At the mile mark, we wanted to make a move up and that's what they did."

Some Redbird runners enjoyed the extra room instead of having to get into position to make a move.

"I think it was a lot more fun," Jorgenson said of the dual meet with Pecatonica-Argyle. "It was a lot easier to see everyone."

Taryn Evenstad agreed that running in a pack has its awards.

"We use each other to keep each other going and to pass girls who are our competition," she said.

Pecatonica-Argyle's Emma Marion took 14th (18:30). McKenzie Burreson finished 18th (19:36), Maureen Johanna took 19th (20:07) and Ariel Sigg was 20th (20:15) for the Vikings.

The Darlington boys cross country team, which is ranked second in the Division 3 Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches Association State poll, had four runners finish together for first, including Kent Miehe, Connor Roche, Michael Sinclair and Jordan Heinberg each finishing in 18:58.

The Redbirds' win over the Vikings Monday came on the heels of Darlington winning the small schools Dick McKichan Platteville Invitational where the Redbirds defeated New Glarus-Monticello, who is ranked ninth in Division 2.

"Pec is a pretty good team," Kent Miehe said. "We knew this was more of a training meet. We knew this was not a big meet. It gave the top guys a chance to group up and go. We knew it was a chance to just cruise today."

Pecatonica-Argyle junior Chris James finished fifth with a time of 19:00.

"After that first mile, I started going slower than I normally do," James said. "I like the race because it gives me a lot of competition."

After setting 15 personal records at the Platteville Invite, Pecatonica-Argyle coach Pat Hardyman, knew that one day of rest before the next race would be a short recovery.

"I certainly didn't expect race pace," Hardyman said. "I told the kids if they were not feeling well to hold back. There is no way I can expect them to come out and run like Saturday. We have to be ready for the stretch drive."

Like Heinberg, James feels getting the chance to run the Darlington course again before the sectional could be invaluable.

"I want to get better," James said. "We will see what happens come sectional time. I kind of have big hopes."

Garth Garrison took sixth (19:05), Cullen Quinn finished seventh (19:07) and Pecatonica-Argyle's Wyatt Massey was eighth (19:17).

Cameron Colson took 11th (19;41) and Ian Sigg finished 15th for the Vikings (20:15).

Even though the meet was a chance to run and train, Heinberg admitted the Redbirds had a goal in mind.

"Our goal was to get seven runners in front of their first runner," Heinberg said. "A chance to run the sectional course any time will help."