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State Cross Country: Pequot boys place 11th

NORTHFIELD--The Pequot Lakes boys had high hopes for state with six runners returning from last year's eighth-place Class 1A finish. Plus, four of the Patriots' top five finishers were seniors at the Section 8-1A meet on Oct. 28 as they were runn...

Kira Sweeney (left) of Staples-Motley capped off her eigth-grade cross country season by placing seventh in Saturday’s Class 1A meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Bill Johnson/Picture Day Pro
Kira Sweeney (left) of Staples-Motley capped off her eigth-grade cross country season by placing seventh in Saturday’s Class 1A meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Bill Johnson/Picture Day Pro

NORTHFIELD-The Pequot Lakes boys had high hopes for state with six runners returning from last year's eighth-place Class 1A finish. Plus, four of the Patriots' top five finishers were seniors at the Section 8-1A meet on Oct. 28 as they were runners-up to Perham.

At the state meet Saturday at St. Olaf College, five of Pequot's seven runners did improve their times over the section as they competed in warm, sunny conditions. But Pequot wasn't able to improve on last year's finish - placing 11th as the Patriots' top finishers were junior Reid Pierzinski, 26th in 16:47; senior Jacob Tschida, 87th in 17:32.4; and senior Tony Fitzer, 92nd in 17:37.7.

One challenge for Pequot Lakes was illness as Tschida was recovering from the flu and Fitzer, who was third at the section, was recently diagnosed with a woodtick-related illness and had missed practice time last week. Fitzer had a courageous effort in fighting fatigue in his final race, but his state finish was 53 seconds behind his section time.

"It was not easy since I didn't have the same energy level for the whole race," said Fitzer, a five-year varsity runner. "It was pretty frustrating considering my last race (at sections) was one of my career highlights. We did have a great season. Most of us have been running together since sixth grade, and we're very close. That's what made us a good team."

Meanwhile, improved health made a difference for Tschida as he felt better than at sections and improved his time by 39 seconds. Pierzinski also cut 11 seconds off his section time with a personal-best effort.

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"We were healthy throughout the year, but (Illness) really hit us this week," Pierzinski said. "I was pretty happy with my time today, and I improved after finishing 40th last year. It helped that we ran here to open the season. That helped us know our (running) lines and where to start down the hills."

Pequot coach Jeff Brever agreed that his squad was familiar with the St. Olaf course.

"We've been here before so we had higher hopes, but we didn't perform the way we wanted as a team," he said. "Reid (Pierzinski) ran a great race and Jacob (Tschida) ran a 17.32 while still recovering from being sick. And Tony (Fitzer) gave everything he had."

Other Pequot Lakes results were senior Karl Brine-Doyle, 128th in 18:00.5, freshman Russell Pierzinski, 130th in 18:01.1, senior Marty Fitzer, 132nd in 18:01.6, and sophomore Sam Person, 135th in 18:10.8.

In the girls' race, Pequot freshman Sunshine Langworthy finished 66th overall in 20:27.5 in her first state meet.

"My goal was to make it to state," said Langworthy, who finished 31 seconds behind her personal-best time from sections. "I didn't run as fast as I did at the section, but I passed a few people before the finish line today and it was a great experience."

Staples-Motley

Eighth-grader Kira Sweeney capped off an admirable season for the Cardinals by placing seventh overall in 19:24.7.

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"I was excited to be here today after missing state (qualifying) by one spot last year," Sweeney said. "I think running track last spring helped me improve. The weather was hotter than I like today, and I was pinched in (with other runners) a few times. But I did pass a couple runners at the end."

Another S-M eighth-grader who competed at state was Emmet Anderson, who placed 52nd in 17:09.1 in the boys' race.

"Kira (Sweeney) and Emmet (Anderson) have great work habits, and both have the potential to become top runners in our program's history," said S-M coach Bruce Fuhrman. "Their success shows what can happen when athletes buy into a program at an early age."

Pierz

The Pioneers' Jake Andres placed 74th in 17:25.2 in the boys race. The sophomore was making his first appearance at state after finishing 10th at the Section 6-1A meet.

Class 1A boys results:

Team scores: 1-Mora 93, 2-Perham 99, 3-LaCrescent 123, 4-Windom Area 166, 5-West Central Area 186, 6-Lac Qui Parle Valley 190, 7-Minnehaha Academy 201, 8-G-F-W 205, 9-Lake City 209, 10-Trinity School 227, 11-Pequot Lakes 236, 12-Mankato Loyola 237, 13-Greenway-N-K 257, 14-Ely 264, 15-St. Cloud Cathedral 360, 16-New London-Spicer 360

Pequot Lakes results: 26-Reid Pierzinski 16:47.0, 87-Jacob Tschida 17:32.4, 92-Tony Fitzer 17:37.7, 128-Karl Brine-Doyle 18:00.5, 130-Russell Pierzinski 18:01.1, 132-Marty Fitzer 18:01.6, 135-Sam Person 18:10.8

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Individual winner: Declan Dahlberg (Mounds Park Academy) 15:56.9

Staples-Motley results: 52-Emmet Anderson 17:09.1

Pierz results: 74-Jake Andres 17:25.2

Class 1A girls results:

Individual winner: Tierney Wolfgram (Math & Science Academy) 18:23.6

Staples-Motley results: 7-Kira Sweeney 19:24.7

Pequot Lakes results: 66-Sunshine Langworthy 20:27.5

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