Cross Country: Park Rapids boys take over top spot in state poll

Win at Wadena lifts the Panthers to the No. 1 ranking in the latest Class A poll.

Park Rapids' Eli Bervig (from left), Logan Maanum, Blaine Hensel and Noah Huot led a pack of runners during the Johanna Olson Invitational cross country meet at Wadena's Whitetail Run Golf Course on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise
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WADENA – Ending last season by placing sixth at the state Class A meet and starting this season with back-to-back wins helped the Park Rapids boys cross country team take over the top spot in this week’s state Class A poll.

The Panthers were rated No. 2 behind Perham in the initial state poll, but claimed the top spot by following a dominating win in the season opener at Staples with another convincing performance at the Johanna Olson Invitational at Wadena’s Whitetail Run Golf Course on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Ephraim Bervig (fourth in 18:33), Blaine Hensel (fifth in 18:33), Eli Bervig (sixth in 18:33), Noah Huot (seventh in 18:33) and Logan Maanum (eighth in 18:33) finished in a pack in leading the Panthers to 30 points in this 14-team meet. Little Falls was second with 60 points.

Rounding out Park Rapids’ varsity were Asher Bervig (12th in 18:58) and Thomas Lopez (22nd in 20:46).

Bertha-Hewitt’s Brady Rach led the 83-runner field with a winning 5K time of 17:39. Parkers Prairie’s James Suchy was second in 18:05 while Little Falls’ Wyatt Baum took third in 28:20.


United North Central’s Wesley Hodge finished 60th in 25:23.

United North Central's Anjalie Aho set the pace during the Johanna Olson Invitational cross country meet at Wadena's Whitetail Run Golf Course on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

In the girls 5K race, United North Central’s Anjalie Aho led from start to finish with a winning time of 20:49. New York Mills’ Jada Goeson was a distant second in 21:46. Aho was rated No. 9 in this week’s state Class A poll.

Elsa Komppa (15th in 23:43), Joanna Lehto (22nd in 24:48), Macie Josephson (23rd in 24:52) and Mattea Smith ( 30th in 26:11) rounded out the Warriors’ team score of 91 points for third place. Rounding out UNC’s varsity were Kaylie Westberg (31st in 26:21) and Brianna George (34th in 26:56). Wadena-Deer Creek, which was rated No. 10 in this week’s state poll, captured the girls title with 54 points while Little Falls followed with 57 points.

Park Rapids finished fifth in the 14-team field with 122 points. Leading the Panthers were Julia Harmon (10th in 22:40), Natalia Lopez (14th in 23:34), Aleka London (26th in 25:21), Sarah Hartung (29th in 25:46) and Natalie Backmann (43rd in 29:53). Also running for Park Rapids were Breanna DeBlieck (46th in 31:15) and Alessia Harmon (51st in 31:41). There were 60 runners in the girls meet.

Aleka London (right) was the No. 3 runner for the Park Rapids girls cross country team by finishing 26th with a 5K time of 25:21 at the Johanna Olson Invitational at Wadena's Whitetail Run Golf Course on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

Boys team scores: Park Rapids 30, LIttle Falls 60, Bertha-Hewitt 68, Wadena-Deer Creek 184, Parkers Prairie 197, Border West 203, Brandon-Evansville 229, Pine River-Backus 262, New York Mills 316. Incomplete teams: United North Central, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, New Testament, Pillager, Verndale.

Individual results

1, Brady Rach, BH, 17:39. 2, James Suchy, PP, 18:05. 3, Wyatt Baum, LF, 18:20. 4, Ephraim Bervig, PR, 18:33. 5, Blaine Hensel, PR, 18:33. 6, Eli Bervig, PR, 18:33. 7, Noah Huot, PR, 18:33. 8, Logan Maanum, PR, 18:33. 12, Asher Bervig, PR, 18:58. 22, Thomas Lopez, PR, 20:46. 60, Wesley Hodge, UNC, 25:23. JV: Jarrett Galzki, PR, 21:19; Jayson Ward, PR, 22:16; Cameron Runyan, PR, 23:00; Nolan Eckmann, PR, 23:42; Matthew Dahring, PR, 24:26; Castle London, PR, 25:09; Wesley Hodge, PR, 25:23; Leo Kaufenberg, PR, 25:47; Pierce DeBlieck, PR, 25:53; Sean Ward, PR, 26:29; Aidan Yliniemi Henel, PR, 27:58; Josh Conway, PR, 29:35; Kamron Hagen, PR, 34:44.

Girls team scores: Wadena-Deer Creek 54, Little Falls 57, United North Central 91, New York Mills 115, Park Rapids 122, Pillager 129, Brandon-Evansville 211, Pine River-Backus 262. Incomplete teams: Bertha-Hewitt, Border West, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, New Testament, Parkers Prairie, Verndale.

Individual results

1, Anjalie Aho, UNC, 20:49. 2, Jada Goeson, NYM, 21:46. 3, Grace Leclair, LF, 21:48. 4, Julia Schmidt, BW, 21:56. 5, Amber Collins, WDC, 22:18. 10, Julia Harmon, PR, 22:40. 14, Natalia Lopez, PR, 23:34. 15, Elsa Komppa, UNC, 23:43. 22, Joanna Lehto, UNC, 24:48. 23, Macie Josephson, UNC, 24:52. 26, Aleka London, PR, 25:21. 29, Sarah Hartung, PR, 25:46. 30, Mattea Smith, UNC, 26:11. 31, Kaylie Westberg, UNC, 26:21. 34, Brianna George, UNC, 26:56. 36, Miley Westberg, UNC, 27:06. 43, Natalie Backmann, PR, 29:53. 46, Breanna DeBlieck, PR, 31:15. 51, Alessia Harmon, PR, 31:41.

Annika Aho, Nathaniel Bervig and Kolby Brandt compete at collegiate level.

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