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Fairmont girls cross country team places 11th at state

ON YOUR MARK — Fairmont runners, from left, Macy Hanson, Hannah Neusch, Carys Gudahl, Tabitha Thatcher, Ellie Ortega, Laura Thompson and Emma Gudahl prepare to start Saturday’s Class A state cross country meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield. (Photo by Kyle McAreavy)

NORTHFIELD — From a fourth-place finish in the section in 2018 to 11th place at state in 2019.

The Fairmont Cardinal girls cross country team combined to score 258 points to capture 11th place at the Class A state meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield on Saturday.

Fairmont head coach Bob Bonk said he began the year questioning whether the Cardinals even had a shot in their section.

“All in all, it was a terrific season,” Bonk said. “I can’t say enough about how far we came this year as a team. Last year we were fourth in the section and it looked like an awfully long shot to get here (state) again. It’s been a great year, it really has.”

Laura Thompson led the Fairmont girls with an all-state time of 19:36.9, placing her 23rd. It was the second time Thompson earned all-state honors after placing 14th as an eighth-grader.

“I think it wasn’t quite what she (Thompson) would have hoped for, but to make all-state for the second time is a big achievement,” Bonk said.

She also improved on her 34th-place finish in 2018 — her fourth time at state.

The Cardinals’ Macy Hanson finished 31st in her first state meet with a time of 19:48.9. Tabitha Thatcher ran a time of 21:14.8 for 118th, while Ellie Ortega finished 137th in 21:40.8.

Emma Gudahl ran the final Cardinal counting time of 22:04.6, good for 155th. Hannah Neusch ran to 160th in 22:15.1 and Carys Gudahl hit the chute at 22:35.9 in 164th.

“Macy ran a great last mile and moved up a lot,” Bonk said. “The rest of the girls still did fine. Carys kind of had a sore quad that really acted up in the last mile. All in all, it was a terrific season for the girls.”

Martin County West/Martin Luther’s Marissa Whitehead ran a time of 20:17.8 in her fourth state race, good for 69th. MCW/ML’s Katie Hartke was close behind during her first state meet, finishing in 20:24 for 75th.

Perham earned its third consecutive Class A title in both the boys and girls races. In the girls race, No. 1-ranked Perham totaled 103 points to beat second-place No. 4-ranked Luverne’s 138.

No. 2-ranked Morgan Gehl of Murray County Central moved from third place in 2018 to the gold medal this year with a time of 17:53.5. Nevis’ No. 4-ranked Jade Rypkema finished second with her time of 18:20.2, while Luverne’s No. 3-ranked Tenley Nelson finished third at 18:27.1.

The No. 1-ranked Perham boys finished with 75 points, besting No. 2-ranked West Central Area’s second-place 83. The teams placed first and second, respectively, for the second consecutive year.

MCW/ML’s Jake Lewis led the area boys competitors in his first state meet with his 39th-place finish in 16:48.6.

Blue Earth Area’s Grant Strukel placed 56th in his fourth state meet with a time of 17:03.4. Fairmont’s Will Saari placed 64th with a time of 17:10.7. Saari’s performance was a great improvement on time of 17:39.8, Bonk said.

“He was 116th I think last year and he finished 64th, so that’s a major move up,” Bonk said. “Again for Will, as he has all year, he just rose to the occasion.”

Returning champion and No. 3-ranked Geno Uhrbom of Greenway/Nashwauk/ Keewatin claimed his second consecutive gold medal, finishing in 15:27.6. No. 1-ranked Emmet Anderson of Staples-Motley finished second with a time of 15:42.6. West Central Area’s No. 2-ranked Jacob Bright ran a time of 15:43.8 for third.

Perham’s boys lineup generated two top-10 finishes in Jakob McCleary (fourth in 15:48.7) and Brandon O’Hara (eighth in 16:06.9) to lead its championship team. Liz Birkeland finished 14th in 19:22.5 to lead Perham’s champion girls, while Aspen Rohde placed 25th in 19:37.5.

Nelson led Luverne’s girls to second, while Jenna DeBates placed 18th in 19:31.9 and Regan Feit finished 80th in 20:29.7.

West Central Area’s second-place boys had top-10 finishes from Bright (third) and Jack Vankempen (ninth in 16:16.2), while Alex Salwasser placed 19th in 16:31.5.

The No. 3-ranked St. James Area boys proved their ranking correct with a third-place finish with 154 points.

Seth Pierson led the Saints’ boys with his 18th-place finish in 16:31.3, while Caleb Rivera finished 21st in 16:33.9. Troy Parulski finished 30th with a time of 16:43.9.

2019 Class A State

Cross Country Meet

Boys Division

(5K Run, 176 competitors)

Team Standings: 1. Perham 75; 2. West Central Area 83; 3. St. James Area 154; 4. Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd 182; 5. Staples-Motley 184; 6. Nova Classical Academy 200; 7. Minnehaha Academy 220; 8. Lake City 228; 9. Greenway/Nashwauk/Keewatin 235; 10. East Grand Forks 239; 11. St. Cloud Cathedral 264; 12. Ely 271; 13. Mankato Loyola/Cleveland 282; 14. Heritage Christian 287; 15. Lewiston-Altura/Rushford-Peterson 321; 16. Redwood Valley 352.

Individual Results (Top 25 All-State): 1. Geno Uhrbom (Greenway/Nashwauk/Keewatin) 15:27.6; 2. Emmet Anderson (Staples-Motley) 15:42.6; 3. Jacob Bright (West Central Area) 15:43.8; 4. Jakob McCleary (Perham) 15:48.7; 5. Hunter Klimek (Staples-Motley) 15:49.7; 6. Cameron Stocke (Virginia) 15:51.1; 7. Luke Olson (Ely) 16:04.5; 8. Brandon O’Hara (Perham) 16:06.9; 9. Jack Vankempen (West Central Area) 16:16.2; 10. Henry Snider (Mounds Park Academy) 16:19.8; 11. Luke Swanson (Northwest Nighthawks) 16:20; 12. Mitchell Johnstone (Mankato Loyola/Cleveland) 16:20.3; 13. Cooper Lennox (Mora) 16:25.5; 14. Tyson Mahar (East Grand Forks) 16:25.5; 15. Bailey Evenson (Perham) 16:26.3; 16. Cole Nowacki (East Grand Forks) 16:28.8; 17. Luke O’Hare (Lewiston-Altura/Rushford-Peterson) 16:29.9; 18. Seth Pierson (St. James Area) 16:31.3; 19. Alex Salwasser (West Central Area) 16:31.5; 20. Harris Anderson (Math & Science Academy) 16:32.7; 21. Caleb Rivera (St. James Area) 16:33.9; 22. Nels Trandahl (Rockford) 16:36.4; 23. Travis Miller (Heritage Christian) 16:36.6; 24. Austin Antony (Tri-City United) 16:36.9; 25. Isaac Swanson (North Shore) 16:39.

Area competitor results: 39. Jake Lewis (Martin County West/Martin Luther) 16:48.6; 56. Grant Strukel (Blue Earth Area) 17:03.4; 64. Will Saari (Fairmont) 17:10.7.

Girls Division

(5K Run, 176 competitors)

Team Standings: 1. Perham 103; 2. Luverne 138; 3. Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 154; 4. Murray County Central 165; 5. Staples-Motley 171; 6. Lake City 180; 7. Albany 190; 8. Pequot Lakes 197; 9. Stwartville 205; 10. Mesabi East 243; 11. Fairmont 258; 12. Providence Academy 261; 13. Hawley 279; 14. Belle Plaine 280; 15. Blake 312; 16. St. Paul Academy & Summit School 321.

Individual Results (Top 25 All-State): 1. Morgan Gehl (Murray County Central) 17:53.5; 2. Jade Rypkema (Nevis) 18:20.2; 3. Tenley Nelson (Luverne) 18:27.1; 4. Ava hill (Mesabi East) 18:38.9; 5. Addison Hoof (Mayer Lutheran/ LPWHT) 18:46.8; 6. Kyanna Burton (Staples-Motley) 18:47.2; 7. Kira Sweeney (Wadena Deer Creek) 19:02.4; 8. Calia Chaney (Pequot Lakes) 19:02.6; 9. Madeline Kelly (Providence Academy) 19:03.8; 10. Jacey Majerus (Lake City) 10:05.7; 11. Gracie Mallak (Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted) 19:11.1; 12. Maddie LeSage (Redwood Valley) 19:14.8; 13. Rian Zutter (Pequot Lakes) 19:15.9; 14. Liz Birkeland (Perham) 19:22.5; 15. Lydia Floden (East Grand Forks) 19:28; 16. Keegan McAuliffe (Duluth Marshall) 19:29.8; 17. Caroline Kuehne (Long Prairie-Grey Eagle) 19:30.7; 18. Jenna DeBates (Luverne) 19:31.9; 19. Olivia Goebel (Albany) 19:32.2; 29. Lauryn Renier (Rochester Lourdes) 19:33.6; 21. Molly Liston (Blake) 19:35.5; 22. Gracie Bucher (Windom Area) 19:36.3; 23. Laura Thompson (Fairmont) 19:36.9; 24. Grace Feder (Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop) 19:37.1; 25. Aspen Rohde (Perham) 19:37.5.

Other Fairmont results: 31. Macy Hanson 19:48.9; 118. Tabitha Thatcher 21:14.8; 137. Ellie Ortega 21:40.8; 155. Emma Gudahl 22:04.6; 160. Hannah Neusch 22:15.1; 164. Carys Gudahl 22:35.9.

Martin County West/Martin Luther results: 69. Marissa Whitehead 20:17.8; 75. Katie Hartke 20:24.

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