PREP CROSS COUNTRY: Lac Qui Parle Valley girls become state runners-up in Class A; C/M/L boys run to 10th-place performance

NORTHFIELD – After getting a slow start in the 2013 season due to injuries, the Lac Qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd girls cross country team was unsure of how they would stack up at the MSHSL Class A Cross Country Championships at St. Olaf College.

“Coming in, we didn’t know where would fit,” said LQPV/DB head coach John Shurb. “We had a nice pack today. It’s just where we fit into with this pack that was key for us.”

The Eagles were pleasantly surprised to find themselves as one of the leaders of the pack, taking home home a state runner-up trophy with an impressive 113 team points.

“It is unbelievable,” said Shrub. “We survived through our tough spots and ended up finishing very well.”

The Eagles were inspired by Alaysia Freetly, who ran to a 22nd-place finish with a time of 15 minutes, 29 seconds. Completing the race within 3 seconds of each other were LQPV/DB’s Sadie Thompson, Kelly Kvaal and Sydney Bartunek claiming the 59th, 60th and 61st places, respectively.

“We ran really well in the middle,” said Shurb. “Our front girls weren’t happy, but we made up for it in the back.”

Seventh-grader Grace Hegland rounded out the top five runners for the Eagles. She ran a 16:09 to place 76th overall. Hegland was followed by Jordyn Sterud in 98th (16:19) and Sydney Giese in 104th (16:25).

“Hopefully, we can enjoy this now,” said Shurb. “But next year, we will reload again and hopefully we can do some things.”

Leah Jessen, of Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI, also participated in the state meet for her sixth consecutive year. She improved on her 2012 finish by taking 64th place in 16:02.

Class A Boys

With 242 points, Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI earned tenth place in the team standings.

Senior Wyatt Johansen led the Lancers by finishing 19th with a personal best 16:51.

“When I hit the mile, I was at 4:56, which is the fastest mile I’ve run all year,” said Johansen. “So, I knew it was fast.”

He drastically improved on his finish at the 2012 state meet, where he took 124th place.

“I was more excited than anything,” said Johansen. “I don’t think I was as nervous as I should have been.”

C/M/L’s Josue Leos finished 89th in 17:39. He was followed by Travis Dinius in 98th (17:44) and McKinley Johansen in 113th (17:53). The last scoring runner for the Lancers was Anthony Wollum, claiming 127thin 18:06.

Braeden Full and Konnor King also competed for C/M/L, taking 171st and 174th, respectively.

“They all ran very well,” said Lancers head coach Beth Jessen. “They ran right at the times that they usually run, if not a little faster.”

Other area runners participating at the state meet included Jacob Carroll, of Yellow Medicine East; Matt Lavoy, of Tracy-Milroy Balaton; and Andy Garza, of Murray Country Central.

Carroll finished 52nd overall in 17:18. Lavoy placed 72nd in 17:30, followed by Garza, who was 132nd place in 18:13.