A race of 5,000 meters came down to the final few steps.
In the end, a scream and a sprint from Winona senior Carter Briggs was just enough to edge Jett Oachs of Mankato East by one-tenth of a second to win the Big 9 Conference boys cross country race on Tuesday afternoon at Brooktree Golf Course in Owatonna.
Briggs finished the race in 15 minutes, 44.9 seconds. Oachs clocked a 15:45.0.
Briggs is the 10th boys runner in the history of the Winhawks cross country program to win a conference title and the sixth to win the conference meet, which was first held in 1991.
A Winhawk claimed the title in this manner four times before 1991, including Carter’s father, Steve Briggs, in 1987.
Carter Briggs is the first Winona runner since Hunter Bailey in 2013 to win the conference meet.
Cody Peterson was fourth in 16:21.9 and Zach Reuter was 10th in 16:47.0 to join Briggs in the top 10 and earn all-conference honors.
Jonas Trombetta was 31st in 17:23.6, while Ryan Meyer was 42nd in 17:38.4
Rochester Century won the meet with 81 points. Mankato East had 83. Winona finished with 88.
On the girls side, Anni Skillicorn placed fourth overall in 19:25.9 to lead the Winhawks to a sixth-place finish. She was joined by fellow senior Emily Carrie in 15th in 20:06.4. Both Skillicorn and Carrie earned all-conference honors.
Colleen Halleck was 38th in 20:58.7, Carol Miller was 40th in 21:05.9 and Kaia Hamilton was 42nd in 21:18.1
Red Wing’s Grace Johnson won in 19:01.8, and the Wingers took the team title with 76 points. Winona had 139.