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Boys cross country: Park Rapids qualifies for state meet

Nevis' Evan Pohl and George Bjorklund earn individual trips to the Class A meet.

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Blaine Hensel (from left), Logan Maanum, Noah Huot, Darryl Etter, Eli Bervig, Ephraim Bervig and Thomas Lopez posed with the runner-up trophy after placing second at the Section 8A boys cross country meet at Bagley on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021 to qualify for the state Class A meet. Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

After winning the Mid-State Conference title for the first time since 1994, the Park Rapids boys cross country team was confident of earning a trip to the state Class A meet for the first time since 2012.

The Panthers achieved that goal with a runner-up showing at the Section 8A meet at Bagley’s Twin Pines Golf Course on Friday, Oct. 29.

Having five runners finish in the top 20 led Park Rapids to 72 points, trailing only Perham’s 34 points in this 20-team meet. Noah Huot led the Panthers by placing eighth overall with a 5K time of 17:27. Logan Maanum was 12th in 17:43, Darryl Etter finished 15th in 17:47, Eli Bervig was 19th in 17:56 and Blaine Hensel followed in 17:58 for 20th place to complete the Panthers’ team score. Ephraim Bervig (25th in 18:16) and Thomas Lopez (40th in 19:08) also ran on Park Rapids’ seven-member squad. Perham was rated No. 1 and Park Rapids was rated No. 11 in the latest state Class A poll.

“I thought the boys had a very good chance. Going to state is a goal they’ve had all year and they’ve been motivated to reach that goal all year,” said Park Rapids head coach Pat Richard. “I liked their chances, but nothing is guaranteed. They had to work for it. They knew what they had to do.”

Nevis’ Evan Pohl and George Bjorklund also qualified for state as individuals with Pohl placing fourth overall in 17:10 and Bjorklund following in fifth place in 17:11. Those two led the Tigers to fourth place with 137 points.

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“Evan and George had great races. They followed the plan to perfection. I was confident they were two of the top runners in our section and we trained pretty hard through this meet,” said Nevis head coach Tom Stambaugh. “Evan has battled his health and ran a gutty race. Evan is one of the toughest runners I’ve coached. He’s a big meet runner who shines when the pressure is the highest. As a senior, George is the one I was happiest for. George has slowly improved every year. He has watched many of his teammates qualify for state, and watching him make it for the first time is why I coach. To me, George is what high school athletics is about. He set a goal, put in the work and showed up big time on race day.”

Also running for Nevis were Eli Peterson (30th in 18:36), Daniel Lindow (37th in 18:57), Reese Mowell (67th in 20:16) and Dawson McGee (74th in 20:43).

“I couldn’t have been more happy with the boys team. We only had six boys and they managed a very nice fourth place effort,” said Stambaugh. “For our school size, I couldn’t ask for more. Eli and Daniel are two of the best young runners in our section and Reese and Dawson finished out our scoring to finish fourth.”

United North Central fielded an incomplete team with only three runners. Riley Livingston finished 51st overall in 19:32 while Wesley Hodge was 109th in 24:24 and Henry Hultberg placed 113th in 25:53.

Perham’s Jakob McCleary, the No. 2-rated runner in the state, led the 113-runner field in 16:05. Richard was named the Section 8A Coach of the Year while Nevis’ Jen McNamee was named the Section 8A Assistant Coach of the Year.

The state Class A boys meet will be held at noon on Saturday (Nov. 6) at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Richard is looking for his team to finish ahead of its state ranking while Stambaugh is looking for his two runners to finish among the leaders.

“I’m hoping we finish in the top half or maybe in the top 5,” said Richard. “They’ve been working the whole season for this. I’m going to tell them to run hard and leave it all out there.”

“With a smart race, both George and Evan have a realistic shot to make all-state by finishing in the top 25,” said Stambaugh. “It will take great races, but it’s definitely doable.”

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Team scores: Perham 34, Park Rapids 72, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 126, Nevis 137, Hawley 143, Lake Park-Audubon 154, Pelican Rapids 168, Ada-Borup West 197, Warroad 234, Frazee 239, Clearbrook-Gonvick 332, Lake of the Woods 350, Roseau 366, Bagley/Fosston 397, New York Mills 409, Red Lake County Central 445. Incomplete teams: Cass Lake-Bena, DNA Homeschool, United North Central, West Marshall.
Individual results
1, Jakob McCleary, Perham, 16:05. 2, Caden Doll, Perham, 16:59. 3, Charlie Larson, Pelican Rapids, 17:00. 4, Evan Pohl, Nevis, 17:10. 5, George Bjorklund, Nevis, 17:11. 6, Nathan Johannsen, Frazee, 17:14. 7, Bjorn Anderson, Perham, 17:17. 8, Noah Huot, Park Rapids, 17:27. 9, Taylor Johnson, LP-A, 17:29. 10, Jack McQuown, C-G, 17:32. 12, Logan Maanum, Park Rapids, 17:43. 15, Darryl Etter, Park Rapids, 17:47. 19, Eli Bervig, Park Rapids, 17:56. 20, Blaine Hensel, Park Rapids, 17:58. 25, Ephraim Bervig, Park Rapids, 18:16. 30 Eli Peterson, Nevis, 18:36. 37, Daniel Lindow, Nevis, 18:57. 40, Thomas Lopez, Park Rapids, 19:08. 51, Riley Livingston, UNC, 19:32. 67, Reese Mowell, Nevis, 20:16. 74, Dawson McGee, Nevis, 20:43. 109, Wesley Hodge, UNC, 24:24. 113, Henry Hultberg, UNC, 25:53.

1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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