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Robert Williams / Forum Communications Co., Published November 03 2012

Perham boys capture Class 1A cross country crown

NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Despite humbled expectations and a controlled confidence from the team, the Perham boys cross country team made a ruckus and ran away with the Minnesota Class 1A state cross country championship.

It was also announced at the awards ceremony the victory had sealed the No. 1 national ranking for Division II schools from XCNation.com.

Keeghan Hurley led Perham, as he has all season, with a fourth-place finish in the team competition and fifth place overall.

Senior Brady Speicher and junior Jayden Cullen finished in fifth and sixth place in team scoring, respectively. Rounding out the scoring for Perham was senior Nick Carignan, 10th among team qualifiers, and sophomore Billy Beseman, 12th in team scoring.

Perham beat its rival St. Cloud Cathedral and avenged last year’s one-point loss to the Crusaders this season by a margin of 35 points.

The title is the fourth for the Perham boys, adding to 2006, 2007 and 2010.

The victory caps a near-perfect season, according to head coach Jeff Morris.

“Nothing ever goes exactly how you want it to go, but much didn’t go wrong today,” said Morris. “I think the thing that I told them before the race was, ‘Let’s go out and let what we’ve done this summer and in workouts be a reflection of what we want to do. What we really believe we’re capable of doing and we did that.’”

Senior Matt Welch of Proctor won the Class 1A individual title after being among the race leaders throughout the 5,000-meter course.

The girls team proved any doubters wrong, surpassing its state ranking of No. 9 with a solid seventh-place finish.

Brynnan and Ciarrin Covington led the way for the Yellowjackets.

Eighth grader Brynnan Covington finished 40th overall and 16th in team standings.

Senior Ciarrin Covington finished 72nd overall and 32nd in team standings.

“There was a huge pack out front,” Ciarrin Covington said.

The girls race started in a clogged fashion and finished in bunches as large packs battled up the final hill to the last straightaway and the finish line.

“I think there was great competition,” Ciarrin Covington said. “I really think that our girls went in there and mixed it up. We were 40 points out of second and 60 or 70 points out of first and I think that’s awesome. I thought that we did really well. We gave it our all and that’s all we can do.”

Junior Clare Flanagan, of The Blake School, raced to her second consecutive individual title, finishing in a time of 14:04.1. Also for the second consecutive year, Flanagan finished with a comfortable lead over her competitors. Forty seconds separated the first five racers. Flanagan finished more than 12 seconds before the second-place finisher – junior Emi Trost of Cannon Falls, 14:16.5.

Trost is repeating as runner-up, and also held a comfortable lead over the competition.

Esko won its first team title in 32 years, and improved upon a 2011 finish of third place.

Boys

Team scores: Perham 37, St. Cloud Cathedral 72, Waseca 164, Martin County West 200, Cotter 200, Esko 201, Redwood Valley 205, Minnehaha Academy 211, Plainview-Elgin-Millville 218, The Blake School 227, Proctor 247, Pelican Rapids 253, Albany 260, Mora 303, Park Rapids 365, Luverne 385.

Top 10: 1, Welch, Proctor, 15:34.0. 2, Lawrence, Foley, 15:46.5. 3, Streich, Waseca, 15:52.9. 4, Golebiowski, SCC, 5:04.70. 5, Hurley, Perham, 5:04.70. 6, Torchia, Rochester Lourdes, 5:04.70. 7, Speicher, Perham, 5:04.50. 8, Cullen, Perham, 5:04.65. 9, Stoks, Canby-Minneota, 5:04.95. 10, Overmyer, Park Rapids, 5:22.20.

Other area finishers

Bagley-Fosston: 56, Davies 17:01.8.

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton: 109, Santos 17:35.3.

Ottertail Central: 66, L. Himmelspach 17:05.8. 116, B. Himmelspach 17:39.9.

Park Rapids Area: 132, Waggoner 17:51.5. 155, Jewison 18:28.2. 161, Otterness 18:38.3. 164, Mueller 18:58.6. 165, Eischens 19:02.0. 174, Carlson 20:01.6.

Pelican Rapids: 22, Bekkerus 16:32.6. 72, Romero 17:10.8. 95, Mackner 17:22.6. 137, Aden 17:53.4. 139, Lynnes 17:55.3. 153, Wald 18:20.4. 168, Cruz 19:17.2.

Pequot Lakes: 59, Ryan 17:03.6.

Perham: 16, Carignan 16:27.4. 19, Beseman 16:31.6. 36, Phillips 16:46.7. 74, Sullivan 17:12.7.

Girls

Team scores: Esko 115, Annandale 150, Minnehaha Academy 151, Waseca 157, Dover-Eyota 184, The Blake School 187, Perham 194, Adrian 204, Rochester Lourdes 206, Holdingford 212, Canby-Minneota 237, Martin County West 255, Spectrum 257, Warroad 267, Albany 282, International Falls 302.

Top 10: 1, Flanagan, Blake, 14:04.1. 2, Trost, Cannon Falls, 14:16.5. 3, Holt, St. Cloud Christian, 14:29.8. 4, Mantor, United South Central, 14:39.5. 5, Shady, Esko, 14:44.8. 6, Schlafke, Annandale, 14:46.3. 7, Ramirez, Litchfield, 14:47.3. 8, Truniger, Mayer Lutheran, 14:49.4. 9, Schandelmeier, Luverne, 14:56.6. 10, Woltz, Chatfield, 14:59.8.

Other area finishers

Bagley-Fosston: 97, Carlson 16:11.1.

Park Rapids Area: 104, Otterness 16:22.0.

Pelican Rapids: 32, Bakken 15:33.5. 58, Wald 15:45.1.

Perham: 40, B. Covington 15:37.3. 72, C. Covington 15:56.8. 100, S. Karels 16:19.5. 101, Fudge 16:19.7. 109, Riestenberg 16:26.1. 144, R. Karels 16:59.2. 147, Anderson 17:10.8.

Wadena-Deer Creek: 45, Schmitz 15:39.4.

West Central Area: 125, VanKempen 16:32.8.

Williams is the sports editor for the East Otter Tail Focus