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Girls cross country: Three local runners qualify for state

Nevis' Jade Rypkema, United North Central's Anjalie Aho and Park Rapids' Morgan Koppelman earn trips to Class A meet.

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Park Rapids' Morgan Koppelman (8044) earned a trip to the state Class A girls cross country meet by finishing 13th overall at the Section 8A meet at Bagley on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

After leading the pack last season, Nevis’ Jade Rypkema and United North Central’s Anjalie Aho were expected to earn return trips to the state Class A girls cross country meet.

Park Rapids’ Morgan Koppelman was also looking to earn a trip to state in her first year running cross country.

All three lived up to their expectations during the Section 8A meet at Bagley’s Twin Pines Golf Course.

Rypkema, who was recovering from COVID-19, defended her section title with a winning 5K time of 19:19 while Aho finished ninth in 20:11 as the No. 3 finisher not on one of the two state-qualifying teams with a 20:11. Koppelman placed 13th overall and claimed the No. 4 individual spot with a 20:56.

“Jade felt a little off warming up at the Perham Invitational (on Oct. 7). A few hours after the race she got a severe headache and fever. She tested positive the next day and we shut her down pretty much for two weeks. I won’t let my runners train with a fever, and it took the two weeks to settle down. She started feeling better about a week before sections and got in one quality workout,” said Nevis head coach Tom Stambaugh. “Jade has such a great base I didn’t think she would lose too much, but the unknown is how the COVID would affect her. Biggest problems have been headaches and feeling sluggish. Jade felt weak at sections, but she is an extremely competitive athlete. She ran a smart controlled race. She has listened to me over the years and studied the sport. She is at the point she could coach herself. She’s a very educated athlete.”

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“I thought Morgan’s chances were pretty good,” said Park Rapids head coach Pat Richard. “She was a great addition to the team. She’s a very talented runner and a natural athlete. She’s a very hard worker, motivated and focused. I told her to run hard and leave it all out there.”

“We felt Anjalie had another good chance at qualifying for state again this year,” said UNC head coach Nick Jasmer.

Perham won the section title with 35 points while Hawley followed with 42 points. Park Rapids was third with 117 points, United North Central was sixth with 174 points and Nevis placed eighth with 224 points. Perham and Hawley advanced to the state Class A meet as did the top six individual finishers not on those two teams. Perham was rated No. 2 and Hawley was rated No. 4 in the latest state Class A poll.

Rounding out Park Rapids’ team score were Julia Harmon (21st in 21:33), Natalia Lopez (22nd in 21:35), Aleka London (26th in 21:43) and Holly Johnson (41st in 22:36). Embry Deshayes (52nd in 23:20) and Lyvia LIvermore (91st in 26:48) also ran for the Panthers.

“The girls ran awesome. We had a solid third place. It’s too bad only two teams get to go to state,” said Richard. “The girls worked hard all season. I’m very proud of them.”

Following Aho for UNC were Joanna Lehto (36th in 22:13), MIley Westberg (43rd in 22:41), Kaylee Westberg (48th in 23:06), Brianna George (49th in 23:07), Elsa Komppa (53rd in 23:20) and Mattea Smith (68th in 24:35).

“They ran well. We would have liked to place higher as a team and go to state, of course, but that didn't happen, and that's okay,” said Jasmer. “Everybody who ran at the section meet went out there and gave it their all. We are very proud of them for that.”

Adeline Bjorklund (20th in 21:32), Molly Lindow (77th in 25:19), Grace McNamee (80th in 25:33) and Savannah Anderson (82nd in 25:36) completed Nevis’ team score. The other runners for the Tigers were Taylor Monroe (92nd in 26:58) and Miranda Kowalke (93rd in 26:58).

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“I couldn’t have been more happy with the girls team. Over half of our girls got COVID, but they managed to get eighth at sections,” said Stambaugh. “Adeline got hit hard with COVID like Jade and ran a great race. Molly, Grace and Savannah finished our scoring with their best efforts of the season.”

There were 20 teams and 100 runners that competed at the section meet.

The state Class A girls meet will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday (Nov. 6) at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Rypkema enters state as the top-rated runner with Murray County Central’s Amanda Overgaauw rated No. 2.

“State will be tough. Jade and Amanda Overgaauw are definitely the class of the field when healthy. We need Jade to get a bit healthier in the next week,” said Stambaugh. “Amanda is one of the best runners in the state, any class. If anyone can overcome this challenge, I’ll take my chance with Jade. She will do her very best and accept the results.”

“I expect Morgan will do good,” said Richard. “I expect her to go down there and run hard.”

“We just expect Anjalie to go out at the state meet and run her own race,” said Jasmer. “There will be a lot of really good runners down there and Anjalie is one of them. She has worked hard all season for this moment and we know she is going to go out there giving it her all.”

Team scores: Perham 35, Hawley 42, Park Rapids 117, Lake Park-Audubon 128, Warroad 142, United North Central 174, Pelican Rapids 198, Nevis 224, West Marshall 240, Roseau 254, New York Mills 260, Ada-Borup West 265. Incomplete teams: Bagley/Fosston, Cass Lake-Bena, Clearbrook-Gonvick, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, DNA Homeschool, Frazee, Lake of the Woods, Red Lake County Central.
Individual results
1, Jade Rypkema, Nevis, 19:19. 2, Gracie Morris, Perham, 19:43. 3, Paula Heide, Hawley, 19:52. 4, Lily Olson, Hawley, 20:00. 5, Ellen Schauer, LP-A, 20:00. 6, Leelou Novotny, Perham, 20:05. 7, Quincy Anderson, Perham, 20:09. 8, Liz Birkeland, Perham, 20:09. 9, Anjalie Aho, UNC, 20:11. 10, Lily Peterson, Hawley, 20:24. 11, Kira Thompson, Hawley, 20:43. 12, Avalee Brown, Perham, 20:48. 13, Morgan Koppelman, Park Rapids, 20:56. 14, Ivy Tickel, Hawley, 21:00. 15, Faith Lilly, Warroad, 21:01. 16, Lelia Johnson, Roseau, 21:02. 20, Adeline Bjorklund, Nevis, 21:32. 21, Julia Harmon, Park Rapids, 21:33. 22, Natalia Lopez, Park Rapids, 21:35. 26 Aleka London, Park Rapids, 21:42. 36, Joanna Lehto, UNC, 22:13. 41, Holly Johnson, Park Rapids, 22:36. 43, Miley Westberg, UNC, 22:41. 48, Kaylee Westberg, UNC, 23:06. 49, Brianna George, UNC, 23:07. 52, Embry Deshayes, Park Rapids, 23:20. 53, Elsa Komppa, UNC, 23:20. 68, Mattea Smith, UNC, 24:35. 77, Molly Lindow, Nevis, 25:19. 80, Grace McNamee, Nevis, 25:33. 82, Savannah Anderson, Nevis, 25:36. 91, Lyvia Livermore, Park Rapids, 26:48. 92, Taylor Monroe, Nevis, 26:58. 93, Miranda Kowalke, Nevis, 26:58.

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