The youthful East Ridge girls cross country running team continued to grow by leaps and bounds in 2011.

In its final meet of the year, East Ridge finished in sixth place in the Class AA State Meet, held Saturday, Nov. 5, at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

The Raptors finished with 187 place points and a total time of 1 hour, 17.27 minutes in the 4K state race. Monticello, which placed second in 2010, won the state championship with 93 points and a time of 1:14:48.9. The Magic had four runners finish in the top 20 in this year's race to win the title.

Last year, the Raptors took eighth place in its first-ever state meet.

"We're really proud of the girls, going up to sixth place," East Ridge head coach Chad Cronin said after the race. "We're very happy."

In the state race, the seven East Ridge runners - who are all underclassmen - finished less than 40 seconds apart.

East Ridge sophomore Bailey Ness led the way for the Raptors at state with a time of 15 minutes, 9.6 seconds to take 20th overall in the team competition. Freshman Brenley Goertzen continued to creep up the ladder of the state's top runners. Crossing the finish line second for the Raptors, Goertzen took 25th in the team race and 46th place overall with a time of 15:16.0. Freshman Emily Betz had East Ridge's third-best time, 15:28.1, to take 34th in the team race and 67th overall. Betz was followed by junior Elizabeth Maata with a time of 15:46.1 and sophomore Abbey Beissler with a time of 15:47.4 to round out the Raptors' top five - who count to the team's point total. Maata was 53rd in the team competition and 93rd overall, while Beissler was 55th and 96th, respectively. Additionally, Taylor Jackson took 56th, and 97th individually, with a time of 15:47.7 and Megan Schiferl finished off East Ridge's runners with a time of 15:49.2, putting her at 60th in the team contest and 101st individually.