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Otterness extends Park Rapids girls' streak by earning individual state berth

Tayah Otterness (59) earned an individual berth to the state Class A girls cross-country meet by finishing 12th overall at Friday's Section 8A meet at Bagley.

One streak ended while another continued for the Park Rapids girls cross-country team at Friday's Section 8A meet at Bagley.

While the Panthers fell short in their quest to qualify for the state Class A meet as a team for the fourth year in a row, they did extend their streak of being represented at the state meet to seven years in a row when freshman Tayah Otterness earned a state berth as an individual.

Otterness, who was competing in cross country for the first year, finished 12th overall with a time of 16:17 over the 4,000-meter course to earn the seventh of eight individual state berths, discarding the runners on the two qualifying teams.

"After running with Tayah this summer, I knew she had what it would take to make it to state," said Park Rapids head coach Kerry Johnson. "I told her to run her own race and be smart. I really wanted her to trust her training and just do her thing."

Perham won the section title with 53 points while Warroad claimed the other state berth with 99 points. Pequot Lakes was third with 141 points while Roseau (142) and Park Rapids (143) followed. United North Central was seventh with 186 points while Nevis fielded an incomplete team in this 22-team meet.

Freshman Megan Olson just missed qualifying for state by finishing 17th in 16:32. Rounding out the team score for the Panthers were senior Lora Remus (29th in 17:04), freshman Abby Mueller (39th in 17:51) and eighth grader Madison Steffel (48th in 18:06). Seniors Kaylee Hilmanowski (56th in 18:25) and Morgan Olson (59th in 18:35) rounded out Park Rapids' varsity team.

"I really thought Tayah had a good shot to make it to state. I thought Megan might get there too, and she just missed it. I know that will motivate her for next year," said Johnson. "I thought the girls had a good meet. We knew it would be hard to catch Warroad for second, but they all gave it their best shot."

Leading UNC were Anna Olson (24th in 16:55), Emily Keranen (34th in 17:33), Joy Haataja (40th in 17:53), Madi Lausten (44th in 18:00) and Andrea Korvela (47th in 18:06).

Competing for Nevis were Chloe Johnson (70th in 19:14), Karly Drury (73rd in 19:24) and Mattie Hjelseth (90th in 20:26).

Roseau's Madeline Huglen led the field with a winning time of 15:34.

Otterness will enter her first state Class A meet, which will be held Saturday morning at 11 at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

"I think Tayah will cut time at state and have a great race," said Johnson. "I am hoping this is just one of many trips to St Olaf."

Girls team scores: Perham 53, Warroad 99, Pequot Lakes 141, Roseau 142, Park Rapids 143, Bagley/Fosston 177, United North Central 186, Lake of the Woods 196, Staples-Motley 225, Wadena-Deer Creek 248, Trek North 248, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 254, Pillager 330, West Marshall 380, Pine River-Backus 399, East Grand Forks 418. Incomplete teams: Hawley/Ulen-Hitterdal, Frazee, Nevis, Indus, Crookston, Lake Park-Audubon.

Individual results

1, Madeline Huglen, Roseau, 15:34. 2, Victoria Alexander, LOW, 15:35. 3, Brynnan Covington, Perham, 15:50. 4, Sadie Hamrin, Trek North, 15:50. 5, Lindsay Fast, Warroad, 15:53. 6, Sydney Karels, Perham, 15:55. 7, Sarah Hamrin, Trek North, 15:58. 8, Marissa Carlson, Bagley, 16:00. 9, Emma Schmitz, W-DC, 16:08. 10, Gretta Bruelle, Warroad, 16:11. 11, Ciarrin Covington, Perham, 16:11. 12, Tayah Otterness, PR, 16:17. 17, Megan Olson, PR, 16:32. 24, Anna Olson, UNC, 16:55. 29, Lora Remus, PR, 17:04. 34, Emily Keranen, UNC, 17:33. 39, Abby Mueller, PR, 17:51. 40, Joy Haataja, UNC, 17:53. 44, Madi Lausten, UNC, 18:00. 47, Andrea Korvela, UNC, 18:06. 48, Madison Steffel, PR, 18:06. 55, Jen Stifter, UNC, 18:21. 56, Kaylee Hilmanowski, PR, 18:25. 58, Sarah Kuismi, UNC, 18:32. 59, Morgan Olson, PR, 18:35. 70, Chloe Johnson, Nevis, 19:14. 73, Karly Drury, Nevis, 19:24. 90, Mattie Hjelseth, Nevis, 20:26.