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O’Hara leads the pack as Perham wins 17th straight HOL title

West Central Area's Jacob Bright runs out in front of a pack of Perham runners, which featured Bailey Evenson, Clayton Anderson, Brandon O'Hara and Jakob McCleary at the start of the HOL conference race in Pelican Rapids. Jason Groth/FOCUS1 / 2
Perham's Brandon O'Hara runs in front of Breckenridge/Wahpeton's Zach Haire during the second loop of the HOL Championships in Pelican Rapids. Jason Groth/FOCUS2 / 2

It took a late spurt but at the end it was Perham’s Brandon O’Hara who captured the Heart O’Lakes Conference individual title on the hilly Birchwood Golf Course in Pelican Rapids on Oct. 9.

O’Hara, the fourth-ranked runner in the state, was running just behind West Central Area’s Jacob Bright. However, it O’Hara made a late move and captured the top spot with a time of 16 minutes and 36.5 seconds, helping Perham to its 17th straight HOL team title.

“It was great to go out there and race my best for not only myself but my team,” O’Hara said. “I gave my best and I know my teammates gave their best and in the end that’s all you can ask for.”

Tesfaye Young

Bright finished in second place at 16:38.3, while Breckenridge/Wahpeton came in third at 16:48.4. Perham’s Clayton Anderson was fourth at 17:00.6. Perham had six of the seven runners inside the top 15, earning all-conference honors. The Yellowjackets appear to have put the illness that they have been battling behind them.

“The boys have been dealing with some sickness, but today looks like they have turned that corner,” Morris said. “We are excited to train hard the next two weeks as we enter the final stretch to the season.”

West Central Area, who is ranked No. 2 in Class A, finished behind Perham with 41 points, while Perham finished with 33 points for the title.

The Yellowjackets weren’t familiar with the course and that played a small role in their preparation. O’Hara said the plan was to go out a little smarter on the course.

“We knew the course would be hillier and it wasn’t a familiar course,” O’Hara said. “From there, it was too move up as much as we could and be able to finish as hard as we could.”

Clayton Anderson

O’Hara said it was a tough course and the final 100 meters or so, he gave it his best effort and was able to pull away from Bright.

“It’s awesome to be able to win individually and as a team,” O’Hara said. “It’s awesome just knowing all the work that we put in, starting in June in the summer and progressing to now, it’s great.”

Jakob McCleary finished in eighth place with a time of 17:12.0, while Bailey Evenson was ninth at 17:22.5. Chase Belka followed in 11th place with a time of 17:38.5. Tesfaye Young continues to make giant leaps for the Yellowjackets. In his third career 5K race, he finished in 13th place, earning all-conference honors at 18:05.1. Isaac Scheidecker rounded out the field for Perham with an 18th place finish at 18:28.6.

Bailey EvensonThe Yellowjackets will have one final regular season test before the Section 8A Championships. The Yellowjackets travel to Bemidji’s Greenwood Golf Course on Oct. 16.

HOL Conference

Boys Team Results

Perham 33, West Central Area 41, Breckenridge/Wahpeton 80, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 110, Frazee 125, Thief River Falls 159, Lake Park-Audubon 182, Hawley 222, Pelican Rapids 239

Individual Top 10 results

1 Brandon O’Hara, PER, 16:36.5; 2 Jacob Bright, WCA, 16:38.3; 3 Zach Haire, B/W, 16:48.5; 4 Clayton Anderson, PER, 17:00.6; 5 Hunter Gowin, B/W, 17:05.1; 6 Jack Van Kempen, WCA, 17:06.8; 7 Kade Runge, WCA, 17:11.8; 8 Jakob McCleary, PER, 17:12.0; 9 Bailey Evenson, PER, 17:22.5; 10 Kyle Schill, WCA, 17:34.4.

Perham Results

1 Brandon O’Hara, 16:36.5; 4 Clayton Anderson, 17:00.6; 8 Jakob McCleary, 17:12.0; 9 Bailey Evenson, 17:22.5; 11 Chase Belka, 17:38.5; 13 Tesfaye Young, 18:05.1; 18 Isaac Scheidecker, 18:28.6.

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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