Panthers run to title
Matt Clark expected the Park Rapids girls cross country team to contend for titles this season. The Panthers backed up that claim in the first meet of the season. Victoria Lutz, Sophie Shogren, Lydia Lutz, Kay-la Stursa and Tiffany Deitchler all ...
Matt Clark expected the Park Rapids girls cross country team to contend for titles this season.
The Panthers backed up that claim in the first meet of the season.
Victoria Lutz, Sophie Shogren, Lydia Lutz, Kay-la Stursa and Tiffany Deitchler all finished in the top 14 spots as the Panthers won Tuesday's Wadena-Deer Creek Invitational with 46 points. Perham (which finished fourth at last year's state Class A meet) was second with 48 points and Staples-Motley (which took fifth at last year's state Class A meet) was third with 55 points. United North Central placed seventh with 167 points.
Park Rapids, which was unranked entering this meet, overcame the 90-degree conditions to defeat No. 2-ranked Staples-Motley and No. 6-ranked Per-ham.
Naomi Landecker of Staples-Motley, who finished fourth at last year's state meet, led the field by covering the 4,000-meter course in 15 minutes, 24 seconds. Perham's Abby Anderson (in 15:51) and Maddie McClellan (in 16:01) and Little Falls' Beth Hauer (in 16:43) followed.
The Panthers claimed three of the next five spots as Victoria Lutz finished fifth in 16:57, Shogren was seventh in 17:03 in her first cross country race and Lydia Lutz took ninth in 17:13.
Stursa (13th in 17:53) and Deitchler (14th in 17:58) were not far behind as the Panthers won their first meet title since 1998. Chelsea Johnson clocked a 20:34 in her first cross country meet.
"I think our girls did great. I think they caught some teams off guard, but we know that is not going to happen any more. They kind of have the target on their backs now," said Clark. "We have a very competitive section. Any of a bunch of teams could contend for the title. Fortunately our girls team is one team that can contend. The section is really up for grabs. That makes the season interesting."
In the boys meet, Park Rapids had only four runners and fielded an incomplete team.
Bryce Klasen and Isaac Zoller led the Panthers with respective times of 21:10 and 21:11. Derek Werner clocked a 21:37 while Jason Dennis finished in 26:43.
"I think our boys team really learned a lot from the first race," said Clark. "I don't think they got the times they wanted or expected to get, but that is OK because it is early in the season. We will have to make some adjustments in our training and get better every day."
Perham, the defending state Class A champion, led the field with 22 points. Long Prairie-Grey Eagle was second with 44 points and Staples-Motley took third with 81 points. United North Central finished sixth with 168 points.
Kevin Lachowitzer of Perham, the defending state Class A champion, won the 5,000-meter race with a time of 16:36. Three other returnees from last year's state champion team - Eddie Stenger (second), Justin Tellinghuisen (third) and Parker Carignan (sixth) - followed as Perham had five runners in the top 10 spots.
"It was the first meet of the year and I just wanted the kids to go out and run," said Clark. "I wanted them to be fresh for the first race and not to place any pressure on them. After the race was over we evaluated our situation, did some goal setting and talked about a plan for the rest of the season."
The Panthers' next meet is Sept. 18 at Bagley.
Girls team scores: Park Rapids 46, Perham 48, Staples-Motley 55, Little Falls 110, Wadena-Deer Creek 135, Pillager 160, United North Central 167, Ottertail Central 172.
1, Naomi Landecker, Staples-Motley, 15:24. 2, Abby Anderson, Perham, 15:51. 3, Maddie McClellan, Perham, 16:01. 4, Beth Hauer, Little Falls, 16:43. 5, Victoria Lutz, Park Rapids, 16:57. 6, Emma Pogreba, Staples-Motley, 16:58. 7, Sophie Shogren, Park Rapids, 17:03. 8, Rachel Amiot, Staples-Motley, 17:11. 9, Lydia Lutz, Park Rapids, 17:13. 10, Dana Kuelbs, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, 17:21.
Park Rapids results
5, Victoria Lutz 16:57. 7, Sophie Shogren 17:03. 9, Lydia Lutz 17:13. 13, Kayla Stursa 17:53. 14, Tiffany Deitchler 17:58. Chelsea Johnson 20:34.
Boys team scores: Perham 22, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 44, Staples-Motley 81, Little Falls 93, Wadena-Deer Creek 140, United North Central 168, Ottertail Central 190, Park Rapids incomplete.
1, Kevin Lachowitzer, Perham, 16:36. 2, Eddie Stenger, Perham, 17:20. 3, Justin Tellinghuisen, Perham, 17:37. 4, Doug Liebsch, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, 17:49. 5, John Dunlap, Little Falls, 18:15. 6, Parker Carignan, Perham, 18:20. 7, Josh Ulring, Staples-Motley, 18:29. 8, Ted Gray, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, 18:38. 9, Alex Liebsch, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, 18:41. 10, Sam Stoll, Perham, 18:43.
Park Rapids results
Bryce Klasen 21:10. Isaac Zoller 21:11. Derek Werner 21:37. Jason Dennis 26:43.