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Perham girls take twelfth place

Cassie Beseman battled for position down the back stretch to finish 34th overall in a time of 15:47 to lead the Yellowjackets.1 / 7
Racole Karels, a freshman, finished with a time of 16:06, second on the Perham team and 62nd overall.2 / 7
Lizzie Fudge, a freshman, set the ground work for a bright Perham future, finishing 103rd at 16:46 and third on the team.3 / 7
Another freshman, Mary Riestenberg, finished strong in 105th place with a time of 16:48.4 / 7
Ciarrin Covington, left, and Sydney Karels finished neck and neck in 109th and 110th place with times of 16:51 and 16:52 respectively.5 / 7
A senior, Jessica Dreier, ran in her first state cross-country meet finishing 149th in 18:23.6 / 7
Junior Cassie Beseman, center, led the Yellowjacket girls, seen here nearing the final turn and the back stretch to the finish line.7 / 7

Unlike the boys cross-country squad, the girls team fought an uphill battle most of the year, but put a strong finish to the season taking 12th place at the state championship meet.

After losing their top four runners from last year's second place state team, three of whom are running college division one this year, a new group of leaders needed to emerge to make a return trip to state.

The team also battled injuries this season, along with having a more youthful squad and it showed as they fought diligently to remain in contention and routinely would appear in the state rankings.

Perham entered the state meet ranked 11th.

"We are so young and it was so exciting to see them come down here and run well and get some state meet experience," Head Coach Jeff Morris said.

Morris is not kidding. Led by Beseman, a junior, the next three runners for Perham, Racole Karels, Lizzie Fudge and Mary Riestenberg are all freshman. Fifth on the team, Ciarrin Covington is a sophomore.

The future is blindingly bright for the girls team.

All of the girls ran either a best time on the course or were within seconds of their best time on the state course.

Cassie Beseman ran a very tough race just missing out on all-state honors by a mere five seconds. Beseman ran an emotional race.

"Cassie I know will look back on this race and see how well she competed and at the same time will use this, I believe, to give her more confidence mixing it up at the front of the pack."

Sisters Racole Karels and Sydney Karels were the last two of three siblings competing or the Yellowjackets and both ran personal bests on the course.

Fudge, Covington and Riestenberg rounded out the scoring positions with solid races.

Senior Jessica Dreier ran in her first state meet as a senior.

"She has been such a great leader for this team."

It was not an easy day for running and the start of the girls race appeared more rough than the boys. It was a heated start on a chilly day and more than a handful of runners finished with agonizing faces.

"We are proud of all the girls on a very good state meet performance in a girls field that was easily one of the deepest in quite a few years."

While finishing 12th in the state is not as high as past years, it certainly carries on a proud tradition in Yellowjacket cross-country.

Perham finished ninth in 1999, 10th in 2000, eighth 2003, fourth in 2004, third in 2005, fourth in 2006, third in 2007 and second in 2008 and 2009.

Cross country results

Perham at the Class A State Cross-Country Meet, Saturday, Nov. 6. St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn.

Girls' team results: Adrian 89, St. Cloud Cathedral 118, Dover-Eyota/St. Charles 143, LaCrescent 166, Esko 169, Fairmont 185, Waseca 190, Blake 190, Albany 193, Holy Family 203, Annandale 237, Perham 248, Canby/ Minneota/Lincoln-HI 258, Sauk Centre 323, Park Rapids 334, Crosby-Ironton 440.

Individual results 34. Cassie Beseman 15:47, 62. Racole Karels 16:06, 103. Lizzie Fudge 16:46, 105. Mary Riestenberg 16:48, 109. Ciarrin Covington 16:51, 110. Sydney Karels 16:52, 149. Jessica Dreier 18:23.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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