XC: Ranked Perham teams sweep season openers at Morris
MORRIS — The No. 4A Perham girls cross country team started their season with a statement victory knocking off No. 1A Lac Qui Parle Valley-Dawson Boyd by a single point.
Five Yellowjackets finished in the top 10 finishing in a pack separated by 21 seconds to gain the victory.
Perham was led by Junior Sydney Karels with a fourth place overall finish (16:30), followed closely by eighth graders Caitlin Covington (16:35) in sixth place and Hailey Wegscheid (16:48) in eighth place.
Junior Jenna Wegscheid (16:49) and sophomore Brynnan Covington (16:51) placed ninth and 10th.
Sophomore Brooklyn Koetke and senior captain Marlee Curtis rounded out Perham’s top seven with times of 18:26 and 18:56 for 22nd and 25 place finishes.
“We are super excited as coaches for the girls, they put in a great summer and we definitely will keep training hard and looking to make some big jumps throughout the season,” Head Coach Jeff Morris said. “We realize that you cannot put too much stock in the first meet of the year because teams change so much throughout the season. The key for any team is to stay healthy so you can train consistently, so at this point that is our focus, and we know we have lots of work to do.”
Lac Qui Parle Valley/D-B and Perham along with Annandale and Waseca are four Minnesota schools ranked among the top in the National Division II rankings.
The No. 2A boys team showcased their own talented youth movement winning without senior leader No. 4A Billy Beseman, who won the junior varsity race with ease as part of his recuperation from a recent appendectomy surgery in August. Beseman will return to varsity lineup at Perham’s next meet in Hopkins next Thursday, September 4.
“We ran him JV to be smart,” said Morris.
The two-time defending state and national D-II champions did not miss a beat without their top runner.
“When we went to our huddle to talk to the boys it dawned on me and our coaching staff that none of these kids have been in our top seven. Our goals are high though, we want to continue to compete at a high level, so our guys put in an amazing summer of running and it showed."
Perham’s rookies, five sophomores, a freshman and a junior put four runners in the top 10 and all seven in the top 25.
Led by sophomore Jacob Dickerson, the meet champion, Perham defeated class AA Rocori by three points for the team title. Dickerson won the race in a time of 17:40.
“What was so neat is that during the race we had three different runners lead.”
Sophomore Hunter Kjelshus ran a personal best of 17:51 and took the lead at two miles finishing fifth overall while freshman Carson Speicher (18:05) also took a share of the lead in the middle part of the race placing eighth.
Chase Leitz (18:08) and Nick Listrom (18:38) finished ninth and 16th, respectively.
Rounding out the top seven was sophomore Adam Siira (18:58) and junior Captain Tyler Fudge (19:08) who both finished in the top 25.
“As coaches we are just so impressed with the way the boys ran. They were fearless and really had a blast out there. In fact Hunter Kjelshus waved to us in the first 200 meters of the race. We look at where we are today and know where we can be at the end of the year and I am quite certain we are going to surprise a lot of people and introduce a lot of people to some new names of Perham CC.”
Led by Beseman, the junior varsity boys team tallied a perfect score taking the top six spots. Perham won the seventh and eighth grade boys races and the girls junior varsity race.
Amber Thompson led the girls JV team winning in a time of 8:38. Dylan Fudge took the top spot in the boys eighth grade race running 7:03.
Perham Cross Country at Morris, Monday, Aug. 25
1. Perham 37, 2. Lac Qui Parle Valley 38, 3. Rocori 62, 4. Morris 100, 5. Sauk Centre 102.
1. Perham 39, 2. Rocori 42, 3. West Central Area 87, 4. Benson/KMS 87, 5. Lac Qui Parle Valley 149, 6. New London Spicer 151, 7. Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley/Chokio-Alb. 209, 8. Paynesville 215, 9. Morris 241, 10. Sauk Centre 249, 11. Ortonville 252, 12. Wheaton/Herman-Norcross 286.