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Speicher, Covington earn All-State honors

Perham's Carson Speicher sprints alongside Annandale's Christopher Groth on his way to the finish line. Speicher edged out Groth for 12th place in the Class A Championships. Jason Groth/FOCUS

It was a fitting end to the high school cross country running career of senior Carson Speicher. Speicher, along with Perham junior Caitlin Covington earned All-State Class A honors for their performances during the championships on Nov. 4 at St. Olaf College.

Perham's Caitlin Covington

The top 25 runners in each race are named Class A All-State. The girls title was won by Math and Science Academy’s Tierney Wolfgram, who set a new record in the Class A Championships. The boys winner was La Crescent’s Matt Steiger, who out-stepped Declan Dahlberg at the finish line for the title.

It was quite the climb up for Speicher in this year’s Class A race. Last year, he was battling illness and finished 44th overall and was the fourth Perham finisher on last year’s runner-up team. This year, he finished 12th overall and was the top finishing Yellowjacket. Speicher finished the race with a time of 16 minutes, 25.4 seconds. In last year’s race, Speicher ended with a time of 17:03.2.

“All season it was push through that punch to the face. We wanted to be the team that really stands out and when they look they say that’s Perham coming down the last mile,” Speicher said. “We finally fought back and it was amazing.”

Speicher is the lone senior on the team and gave an emotional speech to the team before the race began.

“I said ‘we have been doing it in workouts, we have been doing in practices and we have done it in all of the races, but we are going to throw the biggest punch we have, with every last step we have,’” Speicher said. “We were going to show everyone that we are the best team in the state. If you want to beat us, you have to out-grit us. I don’t think there is another team that finishes as hard as we do down that last mile.”

This is the second straight year that Covington has earned All-State honors for the Yellowjackets. In her sophomore year, she finished 24th with a time of 19:46.1. The junior improved her time overall, finishing 19th overall. She finished with a time of 19:25.4, despite not running as well as she had planned. Covington has been the leader up front and said she told the girls to think about the runners before them, the town, their family and their team.

“We had to push our best for the whole season and by doing that we came here and tried our very hardest,” Covington said. “We just ran all out.”

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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