The top ranked Perham Yellowjacket cross country running teams showcased why they have high expectations and have earned that high preseason ranking with their showing at the annual St. Olaf Showcase on Sept. 2 in Northfield, Minn.
The Yellowjacket boys finished fourth overall, while the girls finished fifth, both teams were the highest finishing Class A team in the state that featured several top 10 Class AA teams. The Yellowjacket girls finished with 194 points, while the boys came in with 165 points.
Wayzata finished first in the girls event with 51 points, followed by Hopkins in second with 154 points. Bloomington Jefferson was third, followed by White Bear Lake in fourth and Perham in fifth, out of 28 teams.
Maple Grove won the boys event with 93 points, while Centennial came in second with 127 points. Hopkins was third, followed by Perham in fourth and Eastview rounded out the top five.
Senior Brynnan Covington led the way for the Yellowjackets. She finished strong, earning second place overall. She crashed the Wayzata and Hopkins party in the top five, with a strong finish, coming in at 19 minutes and 27 seconds. She pushed past Hopkins Elizabeth Klecker at the end, beating her by four seconds at the finish. In last year's meet, it was Klecker just nudging Covington at the line. Wayzata's Jaycie Thomsen finished first with a time of 19:05.
"That was awesome. Last year, she (Covington) ran 19:54 here, so this year she ran 19:27 and it was a really good performance for her, moving up the field," Morris said. "Last year, she got outkicked for fourth and out-stepped at the finish line. I was proud of Brynnan to get in there and compete as well as she did, even better than she did last year and to beat a girl that was beating her last year. That was kind of fun for her to beat her finally."
Caitlin Covington finished in 28th place for the Yellowjackets, she came in with a time of 20:36. Hailey Wegscheid ended with a time of 20:59, while Ashley Hokanson crossed at 21:16. Abby Tweeton finished with a time of 21:36 and Evalyn McClearly crossed at 23:21. Brooklyn Koetke finished with a time of 23:40.
With the large field at the showcase, Morris told the girls team to get to the far right in the first 800 meters, so they could be on the outside of the first loop.
"They did an awesome job of doing that," Morris said. "Our strategy is to be smart the first mile, work through position the second mile and bring it home the last mile. We tell them to make it like a game of tag and pass as many people as you can. It went really well."
Maple Grove's Alex Miley won the boys event, finishing with a time of 16:00, he was followed by Hopkins' Seth Eliason in second, finishing with a time of 16:01.
It was another breakthrough race for Jacob Dickerson. He followed up a strong performance in Moorhead, Minn., with a seventh place finish for the Yellowjackets at the showcase. He came in with a finishing time of 16:55. Morris said the coaching staff knew he had that kind of potential.
"When they were sophomores, we (the coaching staff) always thought he could run like this," Morris said. "It was a matter of him being confident and being healthy. Now, he is finally healthy and confident with where he is at in his training. It's been fun to watch him. I think with him and Hunter (Kjelshus), we have a pretty tough one-two punch. I think when the other guys start moving up and close that gap, it's going to make us really tough at the top. It's probably one of the tougher years, we are comparing ourselves to the 2012 team and it's fun to do that."
Hunter Kjelshus followed in 12th for Perham, finishing with a time of 17:07. Carson Speicher finished with a time of 17:40, while Clayton Anderson came in with a time of 17:42. Nick Listrom finished with a time of 17:44, while Adam Siira ended with a time of 17:58. Brandon Ohara closed out with a time of 18:31.
The meet was a great opportunity for the Yellowjacket program to compete on the same course as the Minnesota State High School League's Class A Championships will be held. Morris said it's a unique advantage to have that everyone in the program has competed on that course.
The Yellowjackets return to action on Thursday, Sept. 8 with the Detroit Lakes Invitational at the Detroit Lakes Country Club.
St. Olaf Showcase
Girls Team Results
Wayzata 51, Hopkins 154, Bloomington Jefferson 157, White Bear Lake 160, Perham 194, Henry-Sibley 206, Red Wing 207, Roseville Area 210, East Ridge 212, Irondale 299, Lanesboro Fillmore Central 332, Holy Family Catholic 350, Centennial 372, Minnehaha Academy 380, Waseca 385, Maple Grove 415, Waconia 420, Woodbury 462, Minneapolis Southwest 541, Hudson 549, Winona Senior 571, Park Center 580, Pequot Lakes 50, Dover Eyota 616, Cretin-Derham Hall 703, Osseo 718, Spring Lake Park 773, Park Cottage Grove 836
Jaycie Thomsen, Wayzata 19:05
Brynnan Covington, Perham 19:27
Elizabeth Klecker, Hopkins 19:31
Renae Anderson, Hopkins 19:35
Brooke Young, Wayzata 19:39
Brynnan Covington 19:27
Caitlin Covington 20:36
Hailey Wegscheid 20:59
Ashley Hokanson 21:16
Abby Tweeton 21:36
Evalyn McCleary 23:21
Brooklyn Koetke 23:40
St. Olaf Showcase
Boys Team Results
Maple Grove 93, Centennial 127, Hopkins 148, Perham 165, Eastview 174, Hudson 182, White Bear Lake 262, Henry Sibley 296, Royals 298, Red Wing 332, Waseca 334, Buffalo 341, Owatonna 367, Waconia 372, Minnehaha Academy 383, Pequot Lakes 387, Wayzata 466, Mankato West 473, Bloomington Jefferson 491, Burnsville 502, Winona Senior 534, East Ridge 564, Park Cottage Grove 608, Cretin-Derham Hall 612, Albert Lea 681, Irondale 730, Osseo 777, Spring Lake Park 799, Minneapolis Southwest 836, Holy Family Catholic 017, Dover Eyota 973, Park Center 1005
Alex Miley, Maple Grove 16:00
Seth Eliason, Hopkins 16:01
Reed Kurak, Centennial 16:44
Myles Fleming, Henry-Sibley 16:47
Cole Streich, Waseca 16:53
Jacob Dickerson 16:55
Hunter Kjelshus 17:07
Carson Speicher 17:40
Clayton Anderson 17:42
Nick Listrom 17:44
Adam Siira 17:58
Brandon Ohara 18:31