State Cross Country - Jacob Bright named All-State with 9th place finish

State Cross Country - Jacob Bright named All-State with 9th place finish
Posted on 11/08/2017
Jacob Bright and the Knights taking off at state cross country

Knight Boys and Girls Participate in State Cross Country Meet

By John Van Kempen - Northfield, MN

The West Central Area boys and the girls’ teams qualified for the Minnesota State Cross Country Meet held in Northfield at St. Olaf campus on Saturday. The boys finished in 8th place and the girls finished in 15th place. It was the boys third consecutive advancement to state and the girls second straight advancement.  

“The amount of work and dedication it takes to have that kind of success year after year is a credit to our athletes we have on the team,” said Head Coach John Van Kempen. “Performing at that level season after season is not an easy thing to do in any sport. We returned the core of our girls’ team but had to replace three of our four top runners from last year’s fifth place finish for boys’ team.”

The girls’ race started at 1:00pm on a somewhat cool fall afternoon. “The start of the race is so important here,” said Van Kempen.   We had a good start with our team in 10th place overall at the one mile and then in 11th place at the two mile. The last mile of the race is a dogfight and everyone just tries to pass as many runners as possible.”

Lexi Bright led the charge finishing in 39th place in 19:58. Next was Brynn Fernholz in 103rd (20:50). Teagan Nelson and Ella Van Kempen then tied in 109th and 110th in 20:55. Kennedy Porter was the Knights fifth in 160th in 22:07, followed by Steph Toms (172nd – 23:24) and Carly Steiner (174th – 27:00).

“There was only fifteen points separating the tenth through fifteenth place teams which is really tight for that size of race,” reported Van Kempen. “We lost to Eden Valley Watkins by seven points, very close to the six points we lost to them in the Section Championship. The girls ran their typical times at the race and could have just as easily been in tenth place. Perennial powerhouse Perham won the girls meet by one point because their sixth and seventh runner passed Cotter’s number two runner down the stretch.”

For the boys, Jacob Bright held strong throughout the race to finish in 9th place overall. “He hung tough through miles one, two and three to maintain his position and finish in 16:18,” noted Coach Van Kempen. “He was in 10th at the one mile and the team was sixth, then 8th at the two mile and our boys still held their position in sixth. After that second mile coming out of the prairie back into the woods is where the race against other runners begins. We lost a few spots but still ended in 8th place. Our next four runners hang together pretty tough in races, all finishing within 56 seconds of each other.”

Jack Van Kempen (70th – 17:22), Kade Runge (91st – 17:57), Kyle Schill (121st – 17:57), Kaleb Getz (134th – 18:08), Alex Salwasser (149th – 18:22) and Reubens Swanson (158th – 18:42). The Perham boys team completed the sweep by winning the boys Class A.

“We will be without seniors Steph Toms, Matt Poyzer and Chase Veldhouse next season,” added Van Kempen. “All of them have been on the team for six years.   These are great kids to have on any team, they never complain and do what they are asked. They come to practice every day and don’t get the press that some of the younger kids get, but without them our team would be much different. We try to emphasize the leadership and roles they bring to the team dynamics. Every kid on our team has a role to fulfill whether you are the number one runner or the number ten. We need each kid to fulfill their role and Steph, Matt and Chase have done that for their six years here. It was a fun weekend, Friday night we huddled around a cell phone and watched and listened as our football team qualified for the state football tournament.”

Here are some individual results for runners from teams in our area.

20. Hunter Gowin (Breckenridge) 16:41.5, 25. Zach Haire (Breckenridge) 16:46.3, 58. David Johnston (Pelican Rapids) 17:18.0, 146. Eli Carlson (Ottertail Central) 18:20.9

28. Ellie Morgan (Frazee) 19:43.5, 69. Abby Syverson (Pelican Rapids) 20:23.7, 121. Megan Danielson (Frazee) 21:13.2, 131. Kate George (Ottertail Central) 21:22.9