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Park Rapids head coach Kerry Johnson (right) cheered on Brad Eischens during Friday’s Section 8A cross-country meet at Bagley. Eischens rounded out the Panthers’ fourth-place team score by placing 39th overall with a time of 19:13.

Overmyer earns third consecutive trip to state with runner-up showing

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     Two things were pretty much guaranteed at Friday’s Section 8A boys cross-country meet at Bagley.

     It was expected that Perham would back up the No. 1 ranking among state Class A schools by easily winning the section title for the eighth year in a row. It was also expected that Park Rapids’ Isaac Overmyer would prevent Perham from tallying a perfect score and earn a state berth.

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     Things went as expected as Perham had five runners in the top-six spots to win the section title with 19 points while Overmyer finished second overall to ruin a perfect day for the Yellowjackets and earn his third straight trip to state.

     Keeghan Hurley, the top-rated Class A runner in the state, led the field with a winning time of 15:35 while Overmyer covered the 5,000-meter course in 16:11. Perham’s Jayden Cullen (16:14), Billy Beseman (16:31), Ben Sullivan (16:47) and Chris Knutson (17:11) followed while Roseau claimed the other state berth with 79 points. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton was third with 101 points while the Panthers took fourth with 129 points. Overmyer (No. 7), Cullen (No. 8) and Beseman (No. 9) are also rated among the top Class A runners in the state.

     “I was confident that Isaac would advance to state,” said Park Rapids head coach Kerry Johnson. “He is such a consistent competitor and I knew he was ready. Isaac is a very smart runner. He knows what it takes. Isaac didn’t taper for this race, so this was a time when he just wanted to do what it took to advance. He placed second, so his competitive spirit came out.”

     Rounding out Park Rapids’ team score were Zach Jewison (27th in 18:43), Tyler Breitweser (28th in 18:45), Bailey Mueller (37th in 19:10) and Brad Eischens (39th in 19:13). Jared Kantonen (46th in 19:35) and Nathanael Rairdon (49th in 19:49) completed the Panthers’ lineup.

     “I’m proud of the guys for placing fourth,” said Johnson. “It was a great meet.”

     United North Central finished ninth out of 23 teams with 257 points. Leading the Warriors were Luke Wurdock (43rd in 19:22), Ryan Johnson (44th in 19:23), Joseph Keranen (47th in 19:43), Ryan Spandgenske (64th in 20:19) and Don Wurdock (72nd in 20:32).

     Running for Nevis were William Kempnich (55th in 19:59), Conley Anderson (83rd in 21:10) and Brandon Spain-Brist (119th in 24:43).

     Perham will attempt to repeat as state champs while Overmyer will attempt to earn all-state honors for the second year in a row when the state Class A boys meet starts Saturday afternoon at 2 at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Overmyer just missed earning all-state honors by placing 26th in 2011 before earning all-state honors last season by finishing 10th after placing fourth at the section meet.

     “Isaac continues to improve each year at state, so I am hoping he has a great race and places even higher than he did last year,” said Johnson. “He has the talent and determination. Really, the sky is the limit for Isaac. It should be a very exciting race.”

Team scores: Perham 19, Roseau 79, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 101, Park Rapids 129, Hawley/Ulen-Hitterdal 156, Frazee 178, Pequot Lakes 179, Staples-Motley 185, United North Central 257, Pine River-Backus 306, Bagley/Fosston 314, East Grand Forks 321, Warroad 344, Pillager 421, Lake of the Woods 431, Trek North 475. Incomplete teams: Crookston, Lake Park-Audubon, Laporte, Nevis, New York Mills Wadena-Deer Creek, West Marshall.

Individual results

1, Keeghan Hurley, Per, 15:35. 2, Isaac Overmyer, PR, 16:11. 3, Jayden Cullen, Per, 16:14. 4, Billy Beseman, Per, 16:31. 5, Ben Sullivan, Per, 16:47. 6, Chris Knutson, Per, 17:11. 7, Tyler Erickson, Ros, 17:16. 8, Weston Nelson, Ros, 17:21. 9, Dylan Olson, HUH, 17:27. 10, Stephen Plopper, SM, 17:31. 11, Kanyan Edvall, Per, 17:35. 12, Tony Santos, DGF, 17:41. 13, Leighton Covington, Per, 17:43. 14, Ryan Leach, DGF, 17:49. 15, Dan Wilson, DGF, 17:57. 16, Sam Anderson, HUH, 17:59. 17, Ryan Trout, SM, 18:00. 27, Zach Jewison, PR, 18:43. 28, Tyler Breitweser, PR, 18:45. 37, Bailey Mueller, PR, 19:10. 39, Brad Eischens, PR, 19:13. 43, Luke Wurdock, UNC, 19:22. 44, Ryan Johnson, UNC, 19:23. 46, Jared Kantonen, PR, 19:35. 47, Joseph Keranen, UNC, 19:43. 49, Nathanael Rairdon, PR, 19:49. 55, William Kempnich, Nev, 19:59. 64, Ryan Spandgenske, UNC, 20:19. 72, Don Wurdock, UNC, 20:32. 73, Sterling Crabb, UNC, 20:36. 74, Lars Keranen, UNC, 20:39. 83, Conley Anderson, Nev, 21:10. 119, Brandon Spain-Brist, Nev, 24:43.

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