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Wegscheid to continue running career at MSU-M

Perham's Jenna Wegscheid went from just hoping to finish cross country races her sophomore season to becoming an integral member of the 2015 MSHSL Class A Champions and the 2015 National Small School National Champion Yellowjacket team in her sen...

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Perham's Jenna Wegscheid will continue her running career at Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Jason Groth/FOCUS

Perham's Jenna Wegscheid went from just hoping to finish cross country races her sophomore season to becoming an integral member of the 2015 MSHSL Class A Champions and the 2015 National Small School National Champion Yellowjacket team in her senior season.

Now Wegscheid will continue her running career collegiately with the up-and-coming Minnesota State University-Moorhead Dragons.

"It's great," Wegscheid said about the opportunity. "I'm excited for my future and excited to see how far I'm going to go."

Wegscheid follows the pack of Yellowjacket runners stepping up to the collegiate level. Last year, Billy Beseman joined the University of Sioux Falls, while three years ago Brady Speicher joined MSU-M as well. Perham's Maddie Van Beek recently finished her collegiate career at North Dakota State University and Gabrielle Grunewald continues to run professionally.

Wegscheid was looking at Division II schools in Wisconsin and Minnesota, schools that were similar to MSU-M, she said, eventually deciding that running with the Dragons was the best fit.

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"I just like the campus and the team was really nice," Wegscheid said. "It's a close-knit family and it resembles the Perham Cross Country team. It's a good fit. It's a close school where everybody knows everybody, and I like that."

Wegscheid is a fan of the sciences and plans to major in bio-chemistry at MSU-M. The school is a good fit for her academically and athletically, she said, adding it was a relief to know that she will be going to MSU-M and that it's a good place to attend school.

Perham Cross Country coach Jeff Morris said it was an exciting process and exciting time watching Wegscheid make the decision to continue her running career at the next level. He commented that Wegscheid wants to get better and push herself.

She came to Morris asking to run the 4x800 relay, the mile, the 800 and the 400 in one meet. Unfortunately for Wegscheid, she is unable to do that due to MSHSL rules which limit participation to two events over 800.

"The thing that has been fun with her is the ability to push and want to get better," Morris said. "I think what's really neat is seeing Brady (Speicher) at MSU-M doing as well as he has done. I think, Jenna, is going to be a similar person. They have a great coach there and it's going to be a great fit for her. He is going to push her and she is going to like wanting to be pushed and will get better."

During her time with the Yellowjackets, Wegscheid has been the ultimate team player according to Morris.

"You never hear from Jenna, 'I want to be the No. 1 runner, the No. 2 runner.' She doesn't settle into 'I'm the third runner,'" Morris said. "It's 'I'm going to run as hard as I can, whatever I can put out there and how it's going to help the team is going to be best for the team.' She is willing to push her teammates and make them better. She doesn't get caught up in the drama.She is going to do what she is capable of and help the team in the best way possible. That will add a lot of team chemistry that, I think, a lot of teams are missing."

Morris always knew what Wegscheid would bring to practice, he said, no matter what was going on with her internally.

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"You didn't have to worry about her letting things get in the way of what she needed to do at practice," Morris said. "Even when she got stressed out with school or if she was overworked in other areas, she never let that affect how she was going to be as a teammate and come to practice. She has the ability, where some people struggle with it, to balance and not let the other things that are pretty heavy and maybe more priority, not take away what she needs to do and the accountability to her teammates."

Running for Morris and the Yellowjacket program has taught Wegscheid many lessons. One of them being not putting a limit on your dreams. Running has taught her to to just keep working because it will lead to amazing places, she said, adding that the life lessons she has learned as a runner will serve her well at MSU-M, and after.

"I have put it into different aspects. At first you don't know if you are good at something, so you try it and then you realize that you can actually can do it and are fairly good at it," Wegscheid said. "Then, you just keep working and then you get really successful at it. I feel like that is going to prepare me for college."

Wegscheid hopes to add one more achievement to her impressive career, another trip to the MSHSL Class A Track and Field Championships. Wegscheid is a key member of the Yellowjacket Track and Field Team.

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