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The Perham boys team, led by Brady Speicher, took the strategy of trying to out-distance Moorhead in a pack early. Photo by Bob Williams.

Perham Cross-country teams do battle on home course

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The Perham Harrier Classic Invitational boy's race was billed as a battle of #6-ranked Class 2A Moorhead versus the hosts #2-ranked Class A Perham and that is exactly what the large crowd at Arvig Park witnessed.

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The Yellowjackets started strong taking their entire pack to the front of the 90+ runners and holding it to midway through 5,000 meters.

"We wanted to get out and run our own race and not worry about what Moorhead was going to do," Head Coach Jeff Morris said. "(Moorhead) likes to go out slow and close hard, but with it being windy we thought we would have a better shot against them by not letting it get out too slow."

The top three Spud runners eventually caught the Jackets taking the top three spots at the finish.

Moorhead senior Glen Ellingson, ranked #4 in the state, ran away from the pack and finished alone in a time of 16:10.60.

Juniors Ezra Olson, 16:44.21 and Matthew Lillehaugen, 16:52.97 gave the Spuds an excellent shot at low scores taking the top three spots.

Brady Speicher, who has led the Yellowjackets in every race but one, finished first behind the trio of Spuds in fourth place at 17:05.43.

Perham had three runners in the top eight; the Spuds had the remaining five.

Freshman Billy Beseman, Perham, was fifth in 17:11.42. Beseman was the only freshman to finish in the top 22. The next freshman was 23rd place, Isaac Overmyer, of Park Rapids--17:49.08.

Jacob Geraghty, a Moorhead senior, was sixth, 17:12.52. Perham junior Nick Carignan was seventh in 17:12.98 and Joshua Young, a Moorhead sophomore finished in the eighth spot in a time of 17:15.95.

"Our boys are extremely young and at this point just want to continue to be aggressive and have fun racing," Morris said.

Rounding out the top 10 were: DGF's Tyler Hennen, a senior, 17:18.80 and Wesley Davies of Bagley/Fosston, a junior, in a time of 17:20.05.

Moorhead came out victorious as a team accumulating only 20 points, with the worst of their top five scoring finishers in eighth place.

Perham was second with 47 points.

Detroit Lakes finished third: 97 points, followed by Ottertail Central--131; Fergus Falls--154; Pelican Rapids--183; D-G-F--184; Park Rapids Area--206; Bagley/Fosston--256; Roseau--264; West Central Area--283 and Lake Park Audubon--344.

Other Perham finishers:

Sophomore Jayden Cullen finished 12th, 17:28.08. Junior Dalton Dahms was 19th, 17:42.53. Freshmen Kanyon Edvall, 29th/18:12.51 and Tanner Monson, 31st/18:14.57, put Perham's top seven runners in the top 31 finishers.

On the girls' side, senior Cassie Beseman continues to lead the Lady Jackets running a demanding race with the lead pack all the way to the finish line.

She finished eighth out of 81 runners in a time of 16:08.00.

"Cassie is getting more confident about running at the front of the pack and needs to just assert herself more at the front and I believe the rest of the girls will follow suit."

Brynnan Covington was the second Lady Jacket across the line in 24th place in a time of 16:53.00.

A three-pack of Jackets finished 28th, 29th, and 30th: Sydney Karels--17:03.80, Lizzie Fudge--17:05.96, and Racole Karels--17:09.35, giving Perham five finishers in the top 30.

Mary Riestenberg finished 37th--17:28.91, and Ciarrin Covington was 45th 17:54.57.

Moorhead made it a sweep for the Spuds with a top score of 36. Fergus Falls was second with 83, followed by: Park Rapids Area--97; Perham--112; Detroit Lakes--126; Pelican Rapids--184; Roseau--191; United North Cental--198; West Central Area--215; Trek-North--248, and Lake Park-Audubon--271.

Hurley shines leading junior varsity

Keeghan Hurley, a transfer student from Fergus Falls, won the boys junior varsity race.

He also would have placed at the top of the varsity team and in second place overall, but Hurley is ineligible to run varsity until next season.

Hurley, only a sophomore, finished in a stellar time of 16:40.87, 40 seconds behind Moorhead senior Glen Ellingson and ahead of Spuds' junior Ezra Olson at 16:44.21.

The Perham varsity team, which has looked on a path at making a strong run at repeating as state champions with no seniors on the squad will surely contend again next season with Hurley's eligibility.

Mark Huebsch and Naoto Nitta made it a clean sweep of the top three spots for the Yellowjackets' junior varsity. Huebsch finished in 18:16.89, while Naoto was just behind in 18:17.55.

Perham ran away with first place as a team with 26 points. Moorhead was second with 42. Detroit Lakes came in third with 79 points.

Moorhead took the top three spots in the girls' race.

Emily Tobkin was the top finisher for Perham placing seventh in a time of 18:16.13. Olivia Nelson was the next Yellowjacket in ninth, 18:19.33.

Tanya Berns cracked the top 15 placing 13th in 18:29.95.

Perham finished second as a team with 56 points, behind Moorhead's 17. Detroit Lakes was third with 79; Fergus Falls was fourth with 81.

JH boys first, girls third in 3200m run

Sarah Schumacher, of Detroit Lakes, led the field of 54 runners in the girls junior high 3200m run. She finished in a time of 12:59.51.

The Moorhead Spuds took five of the next seven spots.

Three Yellowjackets finished in a pack for 10th-12th place.

Emma Sweere led the way in 10th place finishing in 13:42.33, followed by Victoria Paridon, 13:47.75, and Emily Swyter, 13:48.34.

Jayden Benedict was the next Jacket runner in 18th place in a time of 14:33.22.

As a team, the Perham girls finished third with 66 points, behind the Spuds in first with 22 and Detroit Lakes in second with 55 points. Fergus Falls was fourth with 80.

Hunter Kjelshus, of Perham, was the top Jacket in the boys 3200m. His time of 11:57.49 was good for seventh place leading Perham to victory as a team.

Nathan Coleman was 10th, in 12:08.51, while Adam Siira was the third Perham runner to cross the line in 16th place, 12:27.69. Trevor Guck was right behind in 18th, 12:29.29.

Sam Andersen, of Hawley/Ulen-Hitterdal won the race in 11:31.99.

The Yellowjackets beat the Spuds by nine points, 62 to Moorhead's 71.

Detroit Lakes finished third with 75. Hawley/Ulen-Hitterdal was fourth, 92 points, followed by West Central Area in fifth with 102 points. Fergus Falls, 130, and Ottertail Central, 161, completed the standings.

Perham elementary boys second, girls fifth

Caitlin Covington and Carson Speicher were Perham's top finishers in the elementary mixed 1600m run.

Speicher was third in 6:27.26 for the boys out of 55 runners.

Covington finished in fourth place in a time of 6:37.21 out of 48 participants.

The Perham boys finished in second place with 54 points behind Detroit Lakes, who led with 37.

Wyatt Guck, of Perham, cracked the top 10 with an eighth place finish of 6:37.56.

Dylan Fudge joined Guck in the top 10, pulling in the 10th position in a time of 6:40.08.

Ty Covington, 6:58.03, and Henry Sweere, 6:58.48, finished 17th and 18th for Perham.

Hayden Chelse made it six Jackets in the top 20 finishing 20th at 7:05.46.

The Yellowjacket girls were fifth with 104 points. Frazee took the girls' title with 46 points.

Mylinda Johnson was the second Lady Jacket across the finish in 29th place in a time of 8:26.78.

Rebecca Swanson, of Bagley/Fosston won the girls race in a time of 6:26.19.

Chase Veldhouse, of West Central Area, was the top boys runner in 6:19.09.

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Robert Williams
Robert has been the Sports Editor for the Focus since 2010 covering multiple state and national championship teams and is a mainstay at state tournaments each season covering the successful, athletic programs of Perham and New York Mills High Schools.
(218) 346-5900 x223
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