Perham keeps pace with state’s top teams in Willmar

Perham cross country results from Saturday's Willmar invite.

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Gracie Morris runs to an eighth-place finish at the Lucky Lindy race in Little Falls on Sept. 16, 2021. Morris paced the Yellowjacket girls to a fourth-place team finished in Willmar with her time of 19:55. (Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune(

The Perham girls cross country team turned heads on Saturday at the Willmar invite.

The Yellowjacket girls finished 11 points behind Class AAA’s top-ranked Hopkins. Not only did they finish fourth overall, but the girls also beat the top-ranked Class A team, Luverne, by 26 points.

Gracie Miller finished eighth overall with a time of 19:55. Quincy Anderson (20:35) and Avalee Brown (20:51) weren’t far behind in 14th and 18th.

“Gracie was just seconds behind the No. 5 Class A,” Perham head coach Jeff Morris said. “She is consistently establishing herself at the front of the pack. Quincy Anderson continues to show amazing consistency.”

Leelou Novotny (20:52), Liz Birkeland (20:53) and Aspen Rohde (21:50) rounded out the top six finishers for the Yellowjacket girls. Perham finished with 80 points, and came in as the No. 2 ranked team in the Class A standings as of Monday morning.


“Aspen Rhode ran a fantastic race today as our sixth runner,” Morris said. “She finished one second behind Luverne’s No. 4 runner. Aspen is really starting to come on strong at the right time. Today’s meet was awesome for our teams since it was the most difficult course we have run this season.”

The boys took second place overall behind Hopkins with a team score of 68. The Yellowjacket boys, who are the No. 1 ranked Class A team in the state, were led by Jakob McCleary. McCleary won the individual title with a time of 16:06.

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Carter Flatau runs in the Lucky Lindy event to a 51st-place finish on Sept. 16, 2021. Flatau helped the Yellowjacket boys finished second as a team behind Hopkins at the Willmar invite on Saturday. (Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

“This was a fantastic race for Jakob, with great competition,” Morris said.

Caden Doll took 10th with a time of 17:10. Bjorn Anderson (17:36), Micah Thompson (17:52) and Carter Flatau (18:13) rounded out the top five for Perham.

“Our boys ran a really tough race today, and continue to gain much needed experience,” Morris said. “Our boys team is so young, and with each race we gain so much confidence.”

Perham is set to host its biggest home meet of the season on Thursday afternoon at Arvig Park. With over 24 teams and 800 runners, it’s a perfect chance for the Yellowjackets to welcome some of the state’s top runners.


On the boys side, Lakeville South, West Central Area and Park Rapids are all ranked in the top 12 of their respective classes. McCleary comes in as the second ranked runner in Class A. WCA’s Alex Salwasser and Kade Runge are ranked eighth and 10th.

The Lakeville South girls are No. 8 in the state in Class AAA while Minnewaska is No. 6 in Class A. Varsity races start at 4:55 p.m. with awards to follow.

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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