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Proctor runner wins state boys cross country title; Esko girls win team title

Proctor's Matt Welch leads the pack early in the Section 7A cross country championship race on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 in Cloquet. (Steve Kuchera /

NORTHFIELD, Minn. - Top-ranked Matt Welch, a Proctor senior, remained undefeated Saturday by winning the Minnesota Class A high school boys cross country title on the campus of St. Olaf College.

Welch was first in 15 minutes, 34 seconds for 5,000 meters for his ninth win in nine starts. No. 2-ranked Charlie Lawrence, a Foley senior, was 12 seconds back in 15:46.5 It was the closest Lawrence had been to Welch in placing second behind the Proctor runner this season. Lawrence had edged Welch by less than a second to win the 2012 Class A track 3,200-meter run in June.

The No. 2-ranked Esko girls won their second state championship, and first since 1980, with 115 points. Annandale was second with 150.

Former Class A girls champion Marisa Shady, an Esko senior, was fifth in 14:44.8 for 4,000 meters. Top-ranked Clare Flanagan, a Blake junior, repeated as champion in 14:04.1