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Nevis' Schuldt qualifies for state boys cross-country meet as section champion

Nevis junior Bryon Schuldt and United North Central senior Jonathan Miller fulfilled their goals at Bagley Friday by earning trips to the state Class A boys cross-country meet.

Schuldt, who is ranked No. 5 in the latest state Class A poll, repeated as the Section 8A champion by covering the 5,000-meter course with a winning time of 16 minutes, 15 seconds to earn his third consecutive state trip.

Meanwhile, Miller finished fourth in 16:37 to qualify for his first state meet. The top-10 individuals on Friday advance to the state meet.

Thief River Falls' Brenden Skime, who is rated No. 11 in the state, finished second in 16:30 while Perham's Keith Schornack was third in 16:34.

"Entering the section meet, my first goal was to make it to state and then, if possible, defend my section title from last year," said Schuldt, who hasn't lost a race this fall since finishing second at the season-opening Wadena-Deer Creek Invitational. "My times (this year) have been where I would like them to be. As far as confidence goes, I felt good, but you never know what might happen."

"Bryon has not lost since the first meet of the year. We knew if he ran smart and was healthy that he would win the section meet," said Nevis head coach Tom Stambaugh. "As usual, most kids go out way too fast. Bryon went out very smart and took control of the race at the mile."

Park Rapids also had a solid race, finishing fourth out of 24 teams with 161 points. That was the Panthers' best finish at the section meet since placing fourth in 1999.

Perham, the top-ranked Class A team in the state, repeated as section champs with 26 points. Thief River Falls was second with 74 points while Staples-Motley took third with 155 points.

Leading the Panthers were Isaac Overmyer (16th in 17:54), Taylor Kimball (24th in 18:08), Zac Haugland (45th in 18:44), Tanner Otterness (46th in 18:45), Jake Waggoner (49th in 18:50), Bailey Mueller (52nd in 18:58) and Matt Sullivan (68th in 19:24).

"I was happy with how the boys did. Some of them were disappointed and that was understandable. But it was great to see them have hope," said Park Rapids head coach Kerry Johnson. "They beat some very tough section teams and they need to be proud of what they accomplished. I feel we're getting close. The boys are improving and I am hoping that some season real soon we won't be able to fit all our state participants in just one school Suburban."

Nevis' Jordan Feder finished 87th in 20:37 while Luke Graham (86th in 20:35), Cody Pulju (100th in 21:07), Paul Funk (101st in 21:13) and Jeff Johnson (103rd in 21:19) rounded out UNC's 343 team score for 13th place.

Schuldt and Miller will look to stay with the leaders at the state meet, which will be held Saturday morning at 10 at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Worthington's Musa Murbarik (the defending champion), Mounds Park Academy's Mason Ferlic, Caledonia's Matt Jergensen and Blake's Brandon Clark are the only Class A runners rated ahead of Schuldt.

"At state this year, I would like to run a good time and put myself in a position for good things to happen," said Schuldt, who has placed 12th at the last two state meets.

"I think there are five guys who have a shot at winning the state title and Bryon is one of them," said Stambaugh. "Bryon needs to go out controlled the first mile and move up from there. I would like to see him in the top 10 at the mile and then go after the leaders. Bryon has worked very hard this year and has done everything in his power to be ready on Saturday. He needs to stay healthy this week and run the best race of his life on Saturday. To win a state title, eve-rything has to fall into place. With a good race, Bryon will be in the top 5. With a great race, he has a chance to win."

Team scores: Perham 26, Thief River Falls 74, Staples-Motley 155, Park Rapids 161, Bagley/Fosston 182, Roseau 187, Hawley/Ulen-Hitterdal 205, Warroad 230, Pequot Lakes 240, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 244, Wadena-Deer Creek 254, United North Central 343, Frazee 359, Lake of the Woods 371, Pine River-Backus 386, Pelican Rapids 397. Incomplete teams: Crookston, East Grand Forks, Indus, Lake Park-Audubon, Nevis, Pillager, Trek North, West Marshall.

State Class A qualifiers

1, Bryon Schuldt, Nevis, 16:15. 2, Brenden Skime, TRF, 16:30. 3, Keith Schornack, Perham, 16:34. 4, Jonathan Miller, UNC, 16:37. 5, Klaus Weber, Perham, 16:38. 6, Nick Carignan, Perham, 16:50. 7, Tyler Hennen, DGF, 17:08. 8, Brandon Karels, Perham, 17:10. 9, Brady Speicher, Perham, 17:11. 10, Mikey Ryan, Pequot Lakes, 17:12.

Park Rapids results

16, Isaac Overmyer 17:54. 24, Taylor Kimball 18:08. 45, Zac Haugland 18:44. 46, Tanner Otterness 18:45. 49, Jake Waggoner 18:50. 52, Bailey Mueller 18:58. 68, Matt Sullivan 19:24.

Nevis results

1, Bryon Schuldt 16:15. 87, Jordan Feder 20:37.

United North Central results

4, Jonathan Miller 16:37. 86, Luke Graham 20:35. 100, Cody Pulju 21:07. 101, Paul Funk 21:13. 103, Jeff Johnson 21:19. 121, Eric Aker 23:53. 124, Tom Houle 26:26.