UNC girls top field in season opener
Having six runners finish in the top 20 spots led the United North Central girls cross-country team to the title at Monday's season-opening Central Minnesota River Run at Staples.
Annika Aho finished fifth in 21:53, Kate Hendrickson was ninth in 22:49, Kaarin Lehto took 11th in 22:55, Molly Hendrickson was 16th in 23:50 and Maria Isacson finished 17th in 23:51 as the Warriors topped the 14-team field with 51 points. Buffalo was second with 56 points. Anita Lehto finished 19th in 24:14 while Erin Olson was 53rd in 28:11 for UNC.
"The nerves were definitely present before the race started, but once that gun went off, you could see the girls were focused and ready to run," said UNC co-head coach Nick Jasmer. "We were very happy with our girls and how they ran. We knew there would be some tough competition, but we knew our girls could go out there and capture first, which is exactly what they did."
Park Rapids fielded an incomplete team as Whitney Steffel finished 23rd in 24:32, Holly Johnson was 26th in 25:08, Alex Kirlin finished 33rd in 25:39 and Haley Pickar was 35th in 25:45. Staples-Motley's Kira Sweeney led the field with a winning time of 20:37 over the 5,000-meter course.
In the boys race, Park Rapids finished sixth with 180 points as Buffalo led the way with 23 points.
Keegan Moses (20th in 19:32), Seth Breitweser (23rd in 19:34), Will Pickar (39th in 20:30), Sam Warne (53rd in 21:54) and Gabe Bagstad (56th in 22:03) comprised the Panthers' team score. Owen Wagner (76th in 25:03) and Kyron Wohlenhaus (77th in 25:29) rounded out Park Rapids' varsity. Buffalo's Isaac Basten covered the 5K course in 16:42 to lead the field.
United North Central's boys ran in the junior varsity meet.
"I was happy with how the runners did," said Park Rapids head coach Kerry Johnson. "I really wasn't sure how they would do, so it's nice to have a starting point. It was hot, so I told them not to worry about times. They're a hard-working bunch and they'll only get better."
Girls team scores: United North Central 51, Buffalo 56, Staples-Motley 64, Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop 129, Detroit Lakes 132, Ottertail Central 138, Wadena-Deer Creek 170, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 191, Deer River/Northland 230, Pine River-Backus 244. Incomplete teams: Park Rapids, Bagley/Fosston, New York Mills, Parkers Prairie.
1, Kira Sweeney, SM, 20:37. 2, Amanda Montplaisir, B, 20:51. 3, Grace Feder, GFW, 21:14. 4, Alexis O'Malley, B, 21:36. 5, Annika Aho, UNC, 21:53. 9, Kate Hendrickson, UNC, 22:49. 11, Kaarin Lehto, UNC, 22:55. 16, Molly Hendrickson, UNC, 23:50. 17, Maria Isaacson, UNC, 23:51. 19, Anita Lehto, UNC, 24:14. 23, Whitney Steffel, PR, 24:32. 26, Holly Johnson, PR, 25:08. 33, Alex Kirlin, PR, 25:39. 35, Haley Pickar, PR, 25:45. 53, Erin Olson, UNC, 28:11. JV: Lora Isaacson, UNC, 25:17; Maddie Thene, UNC, 26:18; Rachael Smith, UNC, 27:19; Julia Harmon, PR, 28:32; Lydia Isaacson, UNC, 31:14; Maddie Bullock, UNC, 33:42.
Boys team scores: Buffalo 23, Detroit Lakes 85, Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop 91, Staples-Motley 97, Ottertail Central 119, Park Rapids 180, Wadena-Deer Creek 182, Deer River/Northland 188, Bagley/Fosston 217, New York Mills 281, Pine River-Backus 296. Incomplete teams: Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, Parkers Prairie.
1, Isaac Basten, B, 16:42. 2, Emmet Anderson, SM, 16:58. 3, Nick Oak, B, 17:41. 4, Braden Benson, B, 17:47. 5, Noah Ross, WDC, 17:52. 20, Keegan Moses, PR, 19:32. 23, Seth Breitweser, PR, 19:34. 39, Will Pickar, PR, 20:30. 53, Sam Warne, PR, 21:54. 56, Gabe Bagstad, PR, 22:03. 76, Owen Wagner, PR, 25:03. 77, Kyron Wohlenhaus, PR, 25:29. JV: Luke Brownell, UNC, 21:00; Lyle Brownell, UNC, 21:08; Jack Pietila, UNC, 21:51; Joel Isaacson, UNC, 22:06; Abram Josephson, UNC, 22:07; Eddie Salmen, UNC, 22:26; Christian Johnson, UNC, 22:38; Sam Jackola, UNC, 22:50; Brian Keranen, UNC, 26:15.