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Nevis' Schuldt wins section title, Overmyer advances

Park Rapids' Isaac Overmyer (66) led a pack of runners during Friday's Section 8A meet at Bagley. Overmyer finished fifth to earn his first trip to the state Class A cross-country meet.

Nevis' Bryon Schuldt and Park Rapids' Isaac Overmyer entered Friday's Section 8A cross-country meet confident of qualifying for the state Class A meet.

Both lived up to those expectations with impressive times at Twins Pines Golf Course in Bagley.

Schuldt captured his third consecutive section title with a winning time of 16 minutes, 6 seconds while Overmyer earned his first state berth by finishing fifth by covering the 5,000-meter course in 16:48.

Schuldt, who sat out the final two weeks of the regular season with a sore knee, showed no signs of being injured by running away from the field. Perham's Brady Speicher was a distant second in 16:19 while Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton's Tyler Hennen (in 16:35) and Perham's Jayden Cullen (in 16:46) followed.

"I thought Bryon would run around 16:30. I was a bit surprised that he could run 16:06 since he missed over two weeks (of practice) with tendonitis in his left knee," said Nevis head coach Tom Stambaugh. "I told him to go out slow and try and get near the lead by the mile. He caught the lead pack just past the mile and was never challenged after that."

Overmyer easily earned one of the 10 individual state berths in his second section appearance. Overmyer, who finished 16th last year in 17:54 and was fifth in 17:45 in an earlier appearance at Bagley this year, dropped about a minute from those times to become the first member of the Park Rapids boys cross-country team to qualify for state since Ellis Peterson made three straight trips from 2002-2004.

"It was great to see Isaac make it to state. He really stepped up his summer training with his running and lifting. He came in strong and he is such a smart, disciplined runner. He doesn't get caught up in the crazy pace some runners set. He runs his race and picks people off as he goes," said Park Rapids head coach Kerry Johnson. "I told Isaac to run with confidence and to just do what he had been doing all year long."

Park Rapids was looking to earn its first state berth as a team since 1997, but finished fourth for the second year in a row with 131 points. Perham repeated as section champs with 26 points to advance to state for the 10th consecutive year while Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton was second with 66 points. Staples-Motley took third with 118 points.

Following Overmyer for the Panthers were Jake Waggoner (31st in 18:28), Tanner Otterness (32nd in 18:29), Bailey Mueller (33rd in 18:36) and Ryan McBrady (39th in 19:00). Jacob Hays (59th in 19:40) and Brad Eischens (73rd in 20:17) completed Park Rapids' seven-member team.

"I so badly wanted the guys to advance. We knew Perham would win, but D-G-F just came in super tough. Staples could have gone either way. Four of our runners had their best times this year and the other three were close. I can't ask for more than that," said Johnson. "If our runners go out and have a really good race and we lose, that's just the way it goes."

United North Central finished 13th with 326 points. Leading the Warriors were Ryan Johnson (37th in 18:51), Luke Graham (44th in19:13), Jeff Johnson (84th in 20:47), Jadye Pickar (88th in 20:56) and Joseph Keranen (101st in 21:49).

Zach Miller (102nd in 21:51) was the other competitor for Nevis.

Schuldt (who finished 12th in 2008 and 2009 and 15th last year) and Overmyer will compete in the state Class A meet, which will be held Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Schuldt enters state ranked No. 12 in the latest Class A poll.

"Without the injury, I felt the state title would come down to Bryon and Brandon Clark from Blake. Those two, I felt, were in a class by themselves. With missing that much time, Bryon will have to run well to get in the top 10. It's very hard to miss that much time in running and not lose quite a bit," said Stambaugh. "If he can run smart, I think he could run sub 16:00, which would be great. That would put him somewhere near the top 5. Nothing would surprise me with Bryon. His drive to do his best is amazing. I know whatever he runs will be the best he is capable of. Bryon runs his best in the big meets and has always come through under pressure."

"There will be many tough runners at state," said Johnson. "I think it's most important for Isaac to go down and run a smart race. I hope he can cut off some more time."

Team scores: Perham 26, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 66, Staples-Motley 118, Park Rapids 131, Pequot Lakes 160, Hawley/Ulen-Hitterdal 196, Roseau 205, Bagley/Fosston 234, Warroad 239, Pillager 241, Wadena-Deer Creek 266, Trek North 322, United North Central 326, Frazee 369, Pine River-Backus 385, Lake of the Woods 386. Incomplete teams: Nevis, Crookston, Indus, Lake Park-Audubon, Stephen-Argyle, East Grand Forks.

Individual results

1, Bryon Schuldt, Nevis, 16:06. 2, Brady Speicher, Perham, 16:19. 3, Tyler Hennen, DGF, 16:35. 4, Jayden Cullen, Perham, 16:46. 5, Isaac Overmyer, PR, 16:48. 6, Wesley Davies, BF, 16:51. 7, Dalton Dahms, Perham, 16:59. 8, Billy Beseman, Perham, 17:00. 9, Michael Ryan, PL, 17:08. 10, Nick Carignan, Perham, 17:11. 31, Jake Waggoner, PR, 18:28. 32, Tanner Otterness, PR, 18:29. 33, Bailey Mueller, PR, 18:36. 37, Ryan Johnson, UNC, 18:51. 39, Ryan McBrady, PR, 19:00. 44, Luke Graham, UNC, 19:13. 59, Jacob Hays, PR, 19:40. 73, Brad Eischens, PR, 20:17. 84, Jeff Johnson, UNC, 20:47. 88, Jadye Pickar, UNC, 20:56. 101, Joseph Keranen, UNC, 21:49. 102, Zach Miller, Nevis, 21:51. 112, Craig Isaacson, UNC, 23:20.