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Seifert, Martinez 1st as record field runs in Litch's Watercade Days race

Passing the water stop on the north side of Lake Ripley, about three miles into the race, are, from left, Julie Dengerud of Grove City and Mark Morns and Ralph Anderson, both from Dassel. Anderson, age 63, won his age group and Dengerud, 34, was second in hers at the Lake Ripley 4-mile run Saturday in Litchfield. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

LITCHFIELD -- C.J. Seifert, 18, and Jessica Martinez, 28, each won for the third time this year when they posted victories at the Lake Ripley 4-mile Run at Watercade Days on Saturday.

The run around the lake, which is south of town, drew 325 registrations and 296 finished the race. That's the highest number ever, according to Watercade official Beth Kannas. She said 276 finished in 2009 and 292 in 2008.

Seifert, a spring Willmar High School graduate, sprinted into the lead during the opening 100-yarddash down State Highway 22, leading to the turn onto South Lake Ripley Drive.

Seifert stayed comfortably out front the entire way to win in a time 22:31, which is a 5:38 pace.

Eric Schmidt, 18, of Hutchinson took second and Tyler Warren, 19, of Watkins was third. Warren placed fourth for Litchfield High School in the Class A 800-meter run last month.

Seifert also won the Jenna Van Buren Memorial 5k and the Atwater 5k and placed third a week earlier at the Green Lake 12-mile run.

Martinez finished 36th overall in 27:51. She was 41 seconds up on runner-up Emily Carlson, 35, of Helendale, Calif.

One runner was taken to the hospital when he collapsed and struck the back of his head on the pavement in the race's final mile. Mark Martens of Portland, Oregon, and a Litchfield native, was immediately assisted by several other runners, including his wife, until Litchfield police and the Litchfield Rescue Squad arrived on the scene.