Boys cross-country team wins 10th consecutive HOL title
Chalk up a decade of dominance for Head Coach Jeff Morris' boys cross-country program after Tuesday's Heart O' Lakes Conference championship meet in Hawley.
The Yellowjackets ran away from the rest of their conference foes, led by conference champion Brady Speicher, to an easy victory of over 47 points.
Perham set the bar low with 22 points. The remainder of the conference finished: Thief River Falls 69, Pelican Rapids 94, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 103, Hawley/Ulen-Hitterdal 118, Roseau 157, Warroad 186, West Central Area 190.
"Our guys just keep making huge jumps," Morris said. "Junior Brady Speicher took it out aggressive and basically, led from start to finish winning his first individual conference title."
In an already lauded program of three state championships, four state runners-up and nine consecutive state appearances, there seems little room for record breaking.
Speicher, however, has become the first Jacket runner to win a junior high, junior varsity and varsity conference title in his career and he is only a junior.
"Brady has been the top runner for the Jackets in all but one race this year. We were joking after the race that he completed the trifecta."
There was no joking around during the race as the entire team got in on conference laurels.
Seven Perham runners garnered all-conference honors placing in the top 15 positions, including four of the top five spots.
Junior Nick Carignan, third overall, sophomore Jayden Cullen, fourth, junior Dalton Dahms, fifth, freshman Billy Beseman, ninth, junior Mark Huebsch, 12th and sophomore Chris Knutson, 14th, all earned the all-conference distinction.
"It was just so cool to see these guys run so well and know that all the summer miles are paying big dividends. Cullen, Huebsch, and Knutson really had great races today."
Speicher, Carignan and Dahms, the three returning members from last year's state championship team, have taken over the leadership of the team and their efforts show in the rallying of their younger counterparts in making a run at repeating this year.
"The younger guys have stepped right into varsity with confidence and poise and you can just see in their eyes how hungry they are to get back to state and take another run at a state title."
The final regular season race will take place in Park Rapids next Monday, Oct. 17.
Not to be outdone, the junior varsity boys also brought a HOL title back to Perham, led by Keeghan Hurley, who dominated the race winning by nearly two minutes in 16:27.81.
Perham swept the top five spots in the race cruising to a 36-point landslide victory over second place Thief River Falls, 51 points, and third place Roseau, 73 points.
Kanyon Edvall was second, 18:15.29. Naoto Nitta finished third, 18:16.16. Tanner Monson was fourth, 18:25.19 and Ben Sullivan rounded out the Perham pack in fifth, 18:33.13.
All seven JV runners finished in the top 10 with Leighton Covington coming in eighth, 20:04.49, and Elliot Werner in tenth, 20:15.43.
As bright as the past successes of the boys program have been, those accomplishments are mirrored by the opportunities in the near future for a team loaded with talent.
The junior high boys just missed making it a sweep of all three races. They finished second just three points behind Hawley.
Hunter Kjelshus, a seventh grader, led the way finishing in third in a time of 12:15.53, in the 3200m race. Eighth-grader Sam Andersen of Hawley/Ulen-Hitterdal was first in 11:45.83.
Heart O'Lakes meet at Hawley. Tuesday, Oct. 11
Boys team totals
Perham 22, Thief River Falls 69, Pelican Rapids 94, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 103, Hawley/Ulen-Hitterdal 118, Roseau 157, Warroad 186, West Central Area 190
Top 5 individuals
1. Brady Speicher, P, 16:50.56; 2. Tyler Hennen, DGF, 16:56.28; 3. Nick Carignan, P, 17:04.78; 4. Jayden Cullen, P, 17:09.88; 5. Dalton Dahms, P, 17:24.68
EGF Senior High finisher
58. Kyle Aune 23:11.92
Girls team totals
Perham 58, Warroad 64, Roseau 82, Pelican Rapids 108, West Central Area 117, Breckenridge/C-T 124, Thief River Falls 125
Top 5 individuals
1. Emily Bakken, PR, 16:10.58; 2. Madeline Huflwn, Eoa, 16:18.48; 3. Gretta Burnelle, War, 16:24.45; 4. Kylee Fernholz, WCA, 16:29.06; 5. Abby VanKempen, WCA, 16:33.77