The 2019 Minnesota State High School League Cross Country season officially kicked off with the first day of practices across the state and a familiar team finds itself on top of the rankings.
Both the Perham boys and girls teams are seeking their third consecutive Class A titles and find themselves at the top or near the front of the Preseason Cross Country Coaches' Association Rankings.
The Perham boys are ranked No. 1 in the state and return a solid core of runners from last year's championship team. West Central Area is ranked second, while Nova Classical Academy is worked third. Lac Qui Parle Valley is fourth, followed by Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin in fifth. Staples-Motley, St. James Area, North Shore, East Grand Forks and Mankato Loyola/Cleveland round out the top 10 teams.
Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin's Geno Uhrbom is the defending individual champion and returns as the No. 1 ranked runner for 2019. Perham's Brandon O'Hara is ranked second overall. Mora's Cooper Lennox is third, while Staples-Motley's Emmett Anderson is fourth, while Virginia's Cameron Stocke rounds out the top five.
Perham, the defending Class A girls champion, is ranked third overall to start the season. LuVerne grabbed the top spot, while Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted comes in at the second spot. Staples-Motley is ranked fourth, while Lake City is ranked fifth overall.
Murray County Central's Morgan Gehl is ranked first overall in Class A, while Nastasha Sortland is ranked second. Mesabi East's Ava Hill is ranked third, while Grace Drietz is fourth, followed by Madeline Kelly at fifth. Perham's Liz Birkeland rounds out the individual rankings. Birkeland comes in 12th overall in the first poll of the season.