Perham cross country teams sweep final tune up

Perham’s Jakob McCleary wins the Bemidji Invitational held Tuesday at Greenwood Golf Course in Bemidji. (Jillian Gandsey | Forum News Service)

The Perham cross country teams had one final tune up before they defend their Section 8A Championship title to close out the regular season. The Yellowjackets competed at the Bemidji Invitational and cruised to a the team win on Oct. 15 in Bemidji.

"The Perham cross country teams knew how to close with class," Perham head coach Jeff Morris said in an email after the race. "Finishing first for both the boys and the girls, the team had had a successful night and an overall successful season. This meet was also important for the seniors as it was the last meet for their high school career."

The boys finished first with 39 points, while Bemidji was second with 49 points. Moorhead came in third at 79, while East Grand Forks was fourth with 103. Detroit Lakes rounded out the top five with 137 points.

"Our boys team did exceptionally well to finish out the season," Morris said. "With all of our varsity boys finishing in the top 20, we celebrated our senior boys after their fantastic runs."

Perham's Jakob McCleary captured top honors for the Yellowjackets. It was his second straight win after he won the Heart O'Lakes Conference Championship the week prior. McCleary led a group of six Yellowjackets in the top 20 medalists. McCleary finished with a time of 16 minutes and 16.8 seconds.


Brandon O'Hara was fifth at 16:32.3, while Bailey Evenson was right behind in sixth at 16:40.40. Chase Belka came in 13th place at 17:07.0, while Carson Hespe finished in 14th place at 17:07.6. Owen Werner rounded out the field for Perham with a time of 17:27.2.

The girls won by a bigger margin, capturing first place with 41 points, while Bemidji came in second with 58 points. Moorhead was third with 67 and Hawley was fourth with 97 points. East Grand Forks rounded out the top five with 119 points.

"The girls showed an incredible amount of strength at this last meet by pushing through and finishing with strong kicks," Morris said. "We celebrated our seniors after their amazing runs."

The Yellowjackets placed five runners inside the top 20 on their way to the team win. Moorhead's Taylor Melton was the individual winner with a time of 19:00.5.

Mya Morris led the way for Perham with a third place finish. She came in with a time of 19:56.1. Quincy Anderson followed closely behind in sixth place at 20:12.0. Liz Birkeland surged to eighth place with a time of 20:16.4, while Kaia Starzl came in ninth at 20:27.4.

Lauryn Rustad rounded out the top five for Perham runners when she finished in 17th place at 20:59.6. Abby Tweeton finished in 37th place with a time of 22:35.0.

The Yellowjackets now prepare to defend their Section 8A Championship crowns. The girls run at 4 p.m., while the boys run at 4:45 p.m. at the Twin Pines Golf Course in Bagley, Minn., on Oct. 25.

Bemidji Invitational


Boys Team Results

Perham 39, Bemidji 49, Moorhead 79, East Grand Forks 103, Detroit Lakes 137, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 176, Bagley/Fosston 209, Thief River Falls 213, Roseau 269, Hawley 274, Pelican Rapids 303, Ada-Borup/Norman County 330, Red Lake County 336, Warroad 374, Cass Lake-Bena 463

Individual Top 10 Results

1 Jakob McCleary, PER, 16:16.8; 2 Tyson Mahar, EGF, 16:22.3; 3 Gage Mostad, BEM, 16:22.9; 4 Cole Nowacki, EGF, 16:30.8; 5 Brandon O’Hara, PER, 16:32.3; 6 Bailey Evenson, PER, 16:40.4; 7 Nicholas Youso, BEM, 16:49.6; 8 Granton Schneider, MH, 16:55.7; 9 Evan Myran, MH, 16:58.6; 10 Nathan Alto, 17:05.6.

Perham Individual Results

1 Jakob McCleary, 16:16.8; 5 Brandon O’Hara, 16:32.3; 6 Bailey Evenson, 16:40.4; 13 Chase Belka 17:07.0; 14 Carson Hespe, 17:07.6; 19 Owen Werner, 17:27.2.

Girls Team Results

Perham 41, Bemidji 58, Moorhead 67, Hawley 97, East Grand Forks 119, Pelican Rapids 126, Warroad 185, Ada-Borup/Norman County 216


Individual Top 10

1 Taylor Melton, MH, 19:00.5; 2 Regan DeWitt, BEM, 19:52.0; 3 Mya Morris, PER, 19:56.1; 4 Lydia Floden, EGF, 19:57.1; 5 Grace Carlton, BEM, 20:11.5; 6 Quincy Anderson, PER, 20:12.0; 7 Abby Syverson, PLR, 20:13.1; 8 Liz Birkeland, 20:16.4; 9 Kaia Starzl, PER, 20:27.4; 10 Lily Peterson, HAW, 20:28.8.

Perham Individual Results

1 Mya Morris, 19:56.1; 6 Quincy Anderson, 20:12.0; 8 Liz Birkeland, 20:16.4; 9 Kaia Starzl, 20:27.4; 17 Lauryn Rustad, 20:59.6; 37 Abby Tweeton, 22:35.0.

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