MCW’s Kahler earns all-state cross country honors

STATELY STRIDES — Blue Earth Area’s Grant Strukel (520), Fairmont’s William Saari (left) and Martin County West’s Carson Kahler (right) sprint from the starting line during Saturday’s Class A state cross country meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield. (Photo by Greg Abel)

NORTHFIELD — Martin County West’s Carson Kahler ran to an all-state finish in the Class A state cross country meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield on Saturday. Kahler placed 24th in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 16:37.8.

Five other area competitors ran in the state meet. Blue Earth Area’s Grant Strukel was the second area competitor to complete the course when he crossed the finish line in 16:42.9, good for 28th place.

William Saari of Fairmont was the final area boys competitor, placing 116th in the 176-runner field with his time of 17:39.8.

Fairmont head cross country coach Bob Bonk said Saari ran well and has a bright couple of years ahead.

“Will had a magnificent day at the section to get that last individual qualifying spot,” Bonk said. “Sometimes it’s hard to follow that with an equal performance the next time. It’s his first time at state, he’s only a sophomore, I thought he competed hard and did a fine job.”

The Cardinals’ Laura Thompson was the first area competitor to finish the girls’ race when she crossed in 34th place with a time of 19:47.1, which was less than 8 seconds away from an all-state finish.

Fairmont senior Sarah Krumholz finished her high school cross country career when she followed with a 64th-place finish in 20:09.4.

Bonk said Krumholz finished her career as one of the best Fairmont runners ever.

“For Laura and Sarah, the other times they have been here, it’s been as part of a team and sometimes it’s harder when you’re used to being part of a team when you’re an individual,” Bonk said. “These two girls are both so team-oriented, I think that might have hurt them a bit. But they both placed very well in the top half of the race and when you think of the thousands who start the season in August, any place in state is good. Great effort by the girls as always, and with Sarah graduating this year, she’s definitely going out as one of our all-time bests.”

MCW’s Marissa Whitehead was the final area competitor to finish the course when she crossed in 20:27.3, good for 84th place in the 175-runner race.

Cotter’s Grace Ping won the individual Class A competition when she finished the course in 17:19.4 — a state-meet record.

Cotter’s Lauren Ping, Grace’s younger sister, followed for a second-place finish in 17:41.5.

Cotter’s Morgan Arnold finished fifth overall with a time of 18:27.1. The three runners combined to lead Cotter to a third-place finish with 140 points.

Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted finished second in the girls’ race with 99 points. Gracie Mallak led HLWW with a seventh-place finish in 19:08.7 and Brooke Baumann followed with a 19th-place finish in 19:54.9.

Defending champion Perham reclaimed the title with its 94-point team effort.

Caitlin Covington led Perham with a 19:24.1 time, good for 10th place, Liz Birkeland was close behind with an 11th-place finish in 19:26.6 and Hailey Wegscheid (19:48.1) was the third Yellowjacket to cross in 15th. Quincy Anderson (20:04.4) and Lauryn Rustad (20:12.8) were the final two contributing times for the Yellowjackets in 26th and 32nd, respectively.

In the boys’ race, West Central Area collected silver medals as a team with their 140-point finish. Junior Jacob Bright led the way for the Knights with a seventh-place finish in 16:15.3, while junior Jack Van (16:45.3) placed 18th and freshman Kade Runge (16:56.2) finished 25th.

Just like in the girls’ race, defending champion Perham took home gold medals once again.

The top three Perham boys placed fourth, fifth and sixth. Brandon O’Hara (16:11.9), Clayton Anderson (16:12.9) and Bailey Evenson (16:13.0) gave Perham 15 combined points, while Jakob McCleary (16:32.2) finished 10th and Chase Belka (17:06.8) finished 39th to claim the team title.

With the season over, Bonk said the Fairmont boys exceeded expectations, while the Cardinal girls rebuilt.

“The guys in particular equaled or exceeded expectations, especially in the section meet, finishing fourth out of 22 teams,” Bonk said. “The girls, we’d gone to state five years in a row, so the expectation was high and out of our top nine last year, five were seniors, which is very unusual. Realistically we had a lot of rebuilding to do, we built well, but it wasn’t enough to get us over the hump in the section. All in all it was a very satisfying season with wonderful young people to work with who all put out great effort.”

CLASS A STATE MEET

BOYS DIVISION

(5K, 176 competitors)

TEAM RESULTS: 1. Perham 64; 2. West Central Area 140; 3. Mora 161; 4. Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd 170; 5. Nova Classical Academy 183; 6. East Grand Forks 201; 7. Staples-Motley 209; 8. Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin 212; 9. North Shore 215; 10. Plainview-Elgin-Millville 217; 11. St. James Area 225; 12. Mankato Loyola/Cleveland 237; 13. Minnehaha Academy 268; 14. Heritage Christian 280; 15. Lake City 300; 16. Redwood Valley 329.

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS

(Top 25, All-State)

1. Geno Uhrbom (Greenway/ Nashwauk-Keewatin) 15:38.0; 2. Cooper Lennox (Mora) 15:56.4; 3. Emmet Anderson (Staples-Motley) 16:07.5; 4. Brandon O’Hara (Perham) 16:11.9; 5. Clayton Anderson (Perham) 16:12.9; 6. Bailey Evenson (Perham) 16:13.0; 7. Luke Olson (Ely) 16:13.8; 8. Jacob Bright (West Central Area) 16:15.3; 9. Henry Snider (Mounds Park Academy) 16:15.8; 10. Cole Nowacki (East Grand Forks) 16:17.1; 11. Mitchell Johnstone (Mankato Loyola/Cleveland) 16:19.0; 12. Zach Haire (Breckenridge-Wahpeton) 16:21.4; 13. Cameron Stocke (Virginia) 16:28.7; 14. Bailey More (St. Peter) 16:31.6; 15. Tommy Ryan (Pine City) 16:32.2; 15. Jakob McCleary (Perham) 16:32.2; 17. Hunter Klimek (Staples-Motley) 16:32.5; 18. Drew Hastings (Belle Plaine) 16:32.7; 18. Jerrett Peterson (Mankato Loyola/Cleveland) 16:32.7; 20. Harris Anderson (Math and Science Academy) 16:33.1; 21. Tyson Mahar (East Grand Forks) 16:33.2; 22. Mike Kvaal (Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd) 16:33.7; 23. Isaac Swanson (North Shore) 16:35.8; 24. Carson Kahler (Martin County West) 16:37.8; 25. Hunter Gowin (Breckenridge-Wahpeton) 16:40.5.

Other Area Results: 28. Grant Stukel (Blue Earth Area) 16:42.9; 116. William Saari (Fairmont) 17:39.8.

GIRLS DIVISION

(5K, 175 competitors)

TEAM RESULTS: 1. Perham 94; 2. Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 99; 3. Cotter 140; 4. Luverne 147; 5. Staples-Motley 176; 6. Lake City 198; 7. Mesabi East 219; 8. Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd 221; 9. West Central Area 229; 10. Providence Academy 255; 11. Jordan 267; 12. Belle Plaine 277; 13. Glencoe-Silver Lake 281; 14. East Grand Forks 290; 15. North Shore 291; 16. The Blake School 310.

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS

(Top 25, All-State)

1. Grace Ping (Cotter) 17:19.4; 2. Lauren Ping (Cotter) 17:41.5; 3. Morgan Gehl (Murray County Central/Fulda) 17:53.9; 4. Ava Hill (Mesabi East) 18:24.4; 5. Morgan Arnold (Cotter) 18:27.1; 6. Grace Drietz (Canby-Minneota) 18:30.5; 7. Tenly Nelson (Luverne) 18:34.9; 8. Natasha Sortland (Zumbrota-Mazeppa/Kenyon-Wanamingo) 18:46.0; 9. Katherine Geist (Crookston) 18:58.4; 10. Maddie Kelly (Providence Academy) 19:08.4; 11. Gracie Mallak (Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted) 19:08.7; 12. Jacey Majerus (Lake City) 19:09.8; 13. Sydney Binsfield (Proctor) 19:12.6; 14. Erika Swanson (Northwest Homeschool Cooperative) 19:17.6; 15. Isabel Schirm (Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd) 19:22.8; 16. Caitlin Covington (Perham) 19:24.1; 17. Kayla Christopherson (Pacelli) 19:26.5; 18. Liz Birkeland (Perham) 19:26.6; 19. Kyanna Burton (Staples-Motley) 19:27.4; 20. Regan Feit (Luverne) 19:27.8; 21. Lauryn Renier (Rochester Lourdes) 19:30.5; 22. Natalie Fultz (Eveleth-Gilbert) 19:34.7; 23. Basia Babock (Jordan) 19:35.8; 24. MaKenna Thurston (Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial/Nicollet) 19:37.7; 25. Sophie Pribly (Maple Lake) 19:39.8.

Other Area Results: 34. Laura Thompson (Fairmont) 19:47.1; 64. Sarah Krumholz (Fairmont) 20:09.4; 84. Marissa Whitehead (Martin County West) 20:27.3.

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