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Top CC Teams Clash in Staples

By Jeff Morris, 09/19/20, 7:15AM CDT


The Perham boys and girls cross country teams headed into their 4th meet of the season in Staples on Friday. The boys and girls raced in a triangular that would easily feature 3 of the top teams in the state on both sides with West Central Area and Staples-Motley joining the Yellowjackets for the meet. The boys would be racing without Jakob McCleary who has been recovering from being sick last week but will be rejoining the team next Thursday in Hawley.

“Right now both our boys and girls teams have been training extremely hard so finding a true gauge for where we are at has been tough for both teams,” commented Perham Head Coach Jeff Morris. “However, both the girls and the boys have shown amazing resilience to the new meet formats and are definitely challenging themselves in practice. Tonight we knew coming in we were going to have to run at a high level given the competition. Our last 2 weeks of practice have been great and we definitely are starting to make big jumps in workouts.”

Staples-Motley won the girls’ team competition with 25 points.  West Central Area was second with 46 and Perham third with 53.

“The girls raced first and early on gave up a little distance to the front pack,” said Morris. “Triangulars make establishing position even more important this season. Our girls are definitely gaining good experience to the new meet format. We were definitely proud of how well the girls ran especially in the 2nd half of the race. You could definitely start to see the girls making movement. Now our focus will have to be in establishing our position a little earlier and eliminating the gap. Our team is a pack running team and the challenge in a triangular is that there are so many more gaps to overcome. I think the light bulb really went off tonight for the girls as they really starting grinding and finished very strong. 7th grader Gracie Morris and her older sister sophomore Mya Morris provided a solid showing both finishing inside the Top 10. Close behind was Kaia Starzl, Quincy Anderson, and Liz Birkeland. Rounding out the top 7 was Mia Lung and Lauryn Rustad. Mya and Kaia are giving us great consistency upfront which is a new role for them and both are definitely ready to step forward and lead our pack. We also know girls like Liz Birkeland, Quincy Anderson, and Lauryn Rustad will come on strong as we come into the 2nd half of season. I am excited to see the jumps we are going to make with another great week of training and learning to race in these smaller race fields. If you know the sport of XC well you can look on paper and see that if our pack can shift 15-20 seconds towards the front things will tighten up and we will be able to compete with top teams like Staples and WCA.” 

Here are the individual girls’ results by team:
1. Kyanna Burton 19:28.8, 3. Aften Robinson 20:10.5, 4. Audrey Brownell 20:17.3, 8. Naila Mikhaeil 21:26.5, 9. Ashley Robben 21:30.5, 19. Addisyn Chicos 23:19.1, 21. Abby Brown 28:03.9

West Central Area
2. Lexi Bright 19:42.3, 5. Taylor Bennett 21:03.1, 6. Macy Grosz 21:17.4, 16. Terina Blascyk 22:22.4, 17. Halle Foslien 22:52.4, 18. Alexa Blume 23:11.0, 20. Mya Foslien 23:33.4

7. Gracie Morris 21:21.7, 10. Mya Morris 21:38.6, 11. Kaia Starzl 21:40.1, 12 Quincy Anderson 21:48.7, 13. Liz Birkeland 21:55.6, 14. Mia Lung 22:10.9, 15. Lauryn Rustad 22:20.2

The boys would race after the girls in what featured probably 3 of the top teams in the state. West Central Area won the race with 31 points, followed by Staples-Motley with 33 and Perham with 61.

“Again the boys were without their number 1 runner Jakob McCleary and his absence was definitely felt,” continued Morris. “However, this was a great opportunity for young boys to really step up and take on new roles. Carson Hespe had a solid 5th place finish that featured some of the best individuals in the state. In the number 2 spot, 1st year XC runner Micah Thompson posted a personal record breaking 18 minutes for the first time. 8th grader Carter Flatau and 9th grader Caden Doll stepped up in the 3 and 4 spots both recording their best times as varsity runners. Rounding out the top 7 for the boys was Bjorn Anderson, Elijah Morris, and Aiden Kennedy (1st varsity race). Our guys are super close to having a big breakthrough. You can just see it coming. Our roster tonight only has 1 runner that has varsity experience from the previous season. You add Jakob McCleary back to the lineup who finished 3rd in the state last year and well it is going to make us a team that will have the chance to mix it up with any team in the state by the end of the season.”

Here are the individual boys’ results by team:
West Central Area
2. Kyle Schill 16:54.6, 3. Kade Runge 16:58.3, 4. Alex Salwasser 17:16.7, 8. Reubens Swanson 17:41.7, 14. Shad Swanson 18:11.8, 16. Peyton Hanson 18:55.8, 21. Roman Mihailovschi 19:35.4

1. Emmet Anderson 16:00.2, 6. Issiah Tabatt 17:33.1, 7. Lyle Brownell 17:34.0, 9 Luke Brownell 17:45.3, 10. Logan Robben 17:51.5, 12. Tanner Robben 17:57.6, 18. Sam Jennissen 19:02.8

5. Carson Hespe 17:22.4, 11. Micah Thompson 17:53.2, 13. Carter Flatau 18:07.4, 15. Caden Doll 18:12.7, 17. Bjorn Anderson 19:00.7, 19. Elijah Morris 19:23.9, 20. Aiden Kennedy 19:23.9

“The goal now for both teams is to continue to train hard and be patient,” added Morris. “We have to stay healthy and consistent. We are super proud of both teams and look forward to the challenge of what the rest of the season will bring. In addition to our varsity teams, both Junior High boys and girls took home championships with Brody Evenson and LeeLou Novotny winning individual titles. The JV boys and girls were both 2nd place to West Central Area.”

The Perham boys and girls will be in Hawley next Thursday with a Triangular with Hawley and Detroit Lakes. Full results online at -