Boys Cross Country: Park Rapids earns return trip to state
The Panthers give Perham a battle for the Section 8A title.
BAGLEY – Going into the Section 8A boys cross country meet, Perham and Park Rapids were the heavy favorites to earn the two berths to the state Class A meet.
The only question was which team would advance as the section champion.
Perham entered the section meet rated No. 2 in the state Class A poll while Park Rapids was rated No. 3. Those two teams battled it out for bragging rights at Bagley’s Twin Pines Golf Course on Friday, Oct. 28.
In a close finish, Perham prevailed with 42 points to win the Section 8A title for the 17th consecutive season. The Panthers were a close second with 48 points in this 21-team meet to earn back-to-back state trips for the first time since the 1996-97 seasons.
Perham was able to hold off the Panthers by having five runners in the top 15 spots. Park Rapids had five runners in the top 17 spots. The top 15 finishers earned all-section honors.
Bjorn Anderson, who was rated as the No. 3 individual in the state Class A poll, led the 116-runner field with a winning 5K time of 16:18 in leading the Yellowjackets to the title. Park Rapids’ Noah Huot, who was the No. 11-rated Class A runner, followed in 16:32 while Perham’s Michah Thompson, who was rated No. 12, was third in 16:41. The Park Rapids duo of Blaine Hensel and Ephraim Bervig finished sixth and seventh with respective times of 16:57 and 17:03.
Capping off Perham’s winning team score were Dylan Guck (11th in 17:23), Caden Doll (12th in 17:23) and Brayden Glorvigen (15th in 17:36). Completing the Panthers’ runner-up finish were Thomas Lopez (16th in 17:40) and Eli Bervig (17th in 17:47). Rounding out Park Rapids’ squad were Logan Maanum (18th in 17:48) and Asher Bervig (28th in 18:12).
“They knew what they had to do. I just told them to spend it all and give it all they had and they did,” said Park Rapids head coach Patrick Richard, who was named the Section 8A Coach of the Year. “I think they were satisfied with second, but they would have been more satisfied if they had beat Perham.”
Nevis finished 10th with 251 points. Evan Pohl missed qualifying for state by two spots after placing 19th in 17:52. Elijah Peterson placed 24th in 18:01, Isaac Bessler was 64th in 20:16, Spencer Lindow finished 77th in 20:58 and Brennyn Ott was 84th in 21:23 to complete the Tigers’ team score. Jeffery Walker (95th in 22:04) and Wyatt Wroblewski (98th in 22:49) also ran for Nevis.
“I had a fun year with our boys. I didn’t think we’d field a team at sections. Evan and Eli were the only two I thought would run. Both had good seasons and finished well,” said Nevis head coach Tom Stambaugh. “Isaac and Spencer both improved enough to deserve a shot at sections and both ran great for two basketball players running to get in shape. Brennyn, Jeffery and Wyatt all ran great for how young they are.”
United North Central fielded an incomplete team with Riley Livingston (34th in 18:36), Wesley Hodge (100th in 23:03) and Henry Hultberg (115th in 29:24) competing.
“We felt that all the boys did a great job in their final race of the season,” said UNC co-head coach Nick Jasmer.
The winning and runner-up teams along with the top six individuals not on those two teams qualify for the state Class A meet, which will be held at St. Olaf College in Northfield on Saturday (Nov. 5). The boys meet begins at 1 p.m.
Park Rapids, which will be making its 13th state appearance, finished sixth last year. Six of those runners return. Huot finished 30th in 17:16, Maanum was 66th in 17:43, Eli Bervig placed 89th in 17:55, Ephraim Bervig was 96th in 18:01, Hensel took 108th in 18:11 and Lopez finished 129th in 18:44 in their state debuts. Heritage Christian Academy will enter the state meet as the No. 1-rated team among Class A teams.
“We want to make a run at beating Perham at state,” said Richard. “We’re going to go for the gold. I like to think that this group has a chance to do that. It all comes down to how bad they want it.”