Park Rapids boys turn in best Mid-State finish in 25 years

Staples-Motley repeats as conference champions as Panthers place second at conference cross country meet.

Park Rapids' Ephraim Bervig and Eli Bervig earned all-conference honors by placing in the top 10 at the Mid-State Conference meet at Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

It’s been a quarter century since the Park Rapids boys cross country team contended for the Mid-State Conference title.

Even though Staples-Motley captured the conference title for the third straight year, the Panthers’ runner-up finish was their best Mid-State showing since placing second in 1995.

Staples-Motley, led by Emmet Anderson’s winning 5K time of 16:19, repeated as conference champs with 24 points at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge on Tuesday, Oct. 6. The Panthers were a distant second with 54 points in this six-team meet. Anderson was rated No. 1 in the latest state Class A poll and Staples-Motley was rated No. 2 behind West Central Area in the Class A rankings.

Because only three teams can compete at the same time, the conference meet was split into two pods. Detroit Lakes, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle and Staples-Motley ran in the first race while Park Rapids, Pequot Lakes and Crosby-Ironton ran in the second race.

Staples-Motley coasted to the title by having four runners finish in the top five spots. Pequot Lakes’ Jesse Clausen was the conference runner-up in 17:39 while the Cardinals’ Lyle Brownell (17:40), Isaiah Tabatt (17:49) and Luke Brownell (17:55) followed. LP-GE’s Joe Liebsch was sixth in 18:08.


The Panthers had the next three finishers as Darryl Etter (seventh in 18:12), Eli Bervig (eighth in 18:17) and Ephraim Bervig (ninth in 18:21) earned all-conference honors. Pequot Lakes’ Collin Yahn was the other all-conference runner by placing 10th in 18:35.

Nathaniel Bervig earned all-conference honorable mention honors by placing 12th in 18:41 while Ronaldo Da La Cruz Gomez rounded out the Panthers’ team score by placing 18th in 19:09. Also running for Park Rapids were Sam Warne (26th in 20:26), Owen Wagner (28th in 20:33) and Pierce DeBlieck (43rd in 23:43).

The other all-conference honorable mention runners were Staples-Motley’s Tanner Robben (11th in 18:36), Logan Robben (13th in 18:44) and Grant Johnson (14th in 18:53) and Detroit Lakes’ John Bergum (15th in 18:58).

Following Staples-Motley and Park Rapids in the team standings were Pequot Lakes (73), Detroit Lakes (92), Long Prairie-Grey Eagle (129) and Crosby-Ironton (177).

“We were impressed that the boys finished second behind Staples. We weren't necessarily surprised, since we know we have depth. Staples beat us at our first home meet this season, so knowing they are our competition always gives the boys team some extra fire, even though they were in the heat earlier in the day,” said Park Rapids head coach Patrick Richard. “Our strategy was for them to pace wisely, use each other to stay together and push through. Simple, but effective. Most of our boys have stuck with a teammate or two consistently during races, which helps them finish close in numbers and with quicker times. They executed that in their heat against Pequot Lakes and Crosby-Ironton. Distance running is always better when you can have a teammate or two right next to you fighting the same fight.”

Team scores: Staples-Motley 24, Park Rapids 54, Pequot Lakes 73, Detroit Lakes 92, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 129, Crosby-Ironton 177.
Individual results
1, Emmet Anderson, SM, 16:19. 2, Jesse Clausen, PL, 17:39. 3, Lyle Brownell, SM, 17:40. 4, Isaiah Tabatt, SM, 17:49. 5, Luke Brownell, SM, 17:55. 6, Joe Liebsch, LPGE, 18:08. 7, Darryl Etter, PR, 18:12. 8, Eli Bervig, PR, 18:17 9, Ephraim Bervig, PR, 18:21. 10, Collin Yahn, PL, 18:35. 11, Tanner Robben, SM, 18:36. 12, Nathaniel Bervig, PR, 18:$1. 13, Logan Robben, SM, 18:44. 14, Grant Jonson, SM, 18:53. 15, John Bergum, DL, 18:58. 18, Ronaldo De La Cruz Gomez, PR, 19:09. 26, Sam Warne, PR, 20:26. 28, Owen Wagner, PR, 20:33. 43, Pierce DeBlieck, PR, 23:43.

S-M girls repeat

Staples-Motley also ran together at the front of the pack to capture the girls title for the third consecutive season.

The Cardinals had five runners finish in the top 10 in compiling 29 points. Pequot Lakes was second with 47 points with Detroit Lakes (79), Crosby-Ironton (85) and Long Prairie-Grey Eagle (109) following. Park Rapids had an incomplete team with only two runners. Staples-Motley was rated No. 1 and Pequot Lakes was rated No. 6 in the state Class A poll.

Pequot Lakes’ Calia Chaney led the 5K field with a winning time of 18:58 while LP-GE’s Caroline Kuehne was second in 19:09. Staples-Motley took five of the next seven spots, led by Aften Robinson (third in 19:45), Kyanna Burton (fourth in 20:32) and Audrey Brownell (fifth in 20:54). Pequot Lakes’ Rian Zutter (sixth in 20:57) and Carly Chaney (seventh in 21:06) followed before Ashley Robben (eighth in 21:29) and Naila Mikhaeil (ninth in 21:50) completed the Cardinals’ winning team score. Crosby-Ironton’s Anna Westin was 10th in 22:28 to round out the list of all-conference runners. Calia Chaney (No. 9), Burton (No. 8) and Zutter (No. 16) were listed in the state Class A girls poll.


Earning all-conference honorable mention honors were C-I’s Emily MIller (11th in 22:42) and Ruby Westin (15th in 23:16) and Detroit Lakes’ Katie McConkey (12th in 22:49), Sadie Johnson (13th in 23:05) and Isla Pender (14th in 23:09).

The Panthers’ Aleka London just missed earning all-conference honorable mention honors by placing 16th in 23:22. Natalia Lopez placed 19th in 23:33 as Park Rapids’ other runner.

“It is not an easy conference. All the schools have bigger numbers of girls, and Aleka and Natalia both ran tough as our duo,” said Richard. “They have done a great job of running together and using each other during competition this season. They are both competitive and become extra engaged and focused during races.”

Team scores: Staples-Motley 29, Pequot Lakes 47, Detroit Lakes 79, Crosby-Ironton 85, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 109, Park Rapids incomplete.
Individual results
1, Calia Chaney, PL, 18:58. 2, Caroline Kuehne LPGE, 19:09. 3, Aften Robinson, SM, 19:45. 4, Kyanna Burton, SM, 20:32. 5, Audrey Brownell, SM, 20:54. 6, Rian Zutter, PL, 20:57. 7, Carly Chaney, PL, 21:06. 8, Ashley Robben, SM, 21:29. 9, Naila Mikhaeil, SM, 21:50. 10, Anna Westin, CI, 22:28. 11, Emily Miller, CI, 22:42. 12, Kaie McConkey, DL, 22:49. 13, Sadie JOhnson, DL, 23:05. 14, Isla Pender, DL, 23:09. 15, Ruby Westin, CI, 23:16. 16, Aleka London, PR, 23:22. 19, Natalia Lopez, PR, 23:33.

Section meet next

The Panthers will end the season by running in the Section 8A meet at Bagley’s Twin Pines Golf Course.

The section boys meet will be held on Tuesday (Oct. 13) while the section girls meet will be held on Wednesday (Oct. 14). Both meets will feature multiple races in pods of four teams with six runners on each team.

At last year’s section meet, Perham and East Grand Forks earned the two trips to state for the boys while Perham claimed the title and Hawley won a tiebreaker over United North Central for the second state berth in the girls meet. Perham is rated No. 6 and East Grand Forks is rated No. 12 in the latest state Class A boys poll while Perham is rated No. 5 and Hawley is rated No. 10 in the state Class A girls poll.

“We expect both Aleka and Natalia to be competitive. They have grown so much this season and deserve to showcase that in Bagley. Same with the boys team. We expect them to be competitive as well and in the mix with the big teams,” said Richard. “Again, the boys and girls teams embody hard work, discipline and positivity. They will run with everything they have, which has been inspiring to see over the past couple of months. Section should be no exception. Like most teams at this point, they're more motivated than ever.”


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