Lauryn Ankeny (left) and Maeson Tank placed high enough at the Section 6A Cross-Country Meet last week to earn state berths.

The Minnewaska Area girls cross-country team fell just short of earning a repeat trip to the State Cross-Country Meet, but two members of the Laker cross-country teams did earn state berths at the Section 6A Meet, Friday at Staples-Motley.

The host Cardinals won both team titles with Wadena-DC edging the Lakers by eight points for second place in the girls’ competition and Bertha-Hewitt earning the runner-up trophy in the boys’ meet.

Earning state berths for the Lakers were freshman Lauryn Ankeny and junior Maeson Tank.  Ankeny placed fourth overall in the girls’ race and Tank was ninth in the boys’ competition.

The State Boys and Girls Cross-Country Meet is set for Saturday, Nov. 5 at St. Olaf College.  “We plan to practice at St. Olaf Friday afternoon to get a look at the course,” coach Jennifer Johnsrud said.  “Lauryn has experience at the state meet from last year, when she placed 19th overall (earning All-State honors), which is amazing.  She knows how tough the competition is at that level and will give it her best on race day.  

“Maeson also has state track experience, but came up one place short of qualifying to state cross-country last year.  He is hungry and so focused.  I am excited for both kids.  Their hard work and dedication to running has earned them this opportunity to compete at the state meet and I anticipate a strong showing from both of them.

“On the other hand, our young runners on both teams were already talking about next year, following the section meet.  That shows they are enthusiastic and motivated to continue to build our program and improve themselves.”

Section 6A Meet

The Lakers fell eight points short of qualifying to state again in the girls meet as Staples-Motley won the Section 6A title with 46 points, Wadena-DC was second with 83 and Minnewaska Area was third with 91 points out of 16 teams.

Just how close was it?  The Lakers first runner gained one point on WDC’s top runner, but WDC’s second runner earned it back.  WDC’s third and fourth runners were 18th and 19th with times of 21:24 and 21:30, while the Lakers third and fourth runners were 20th and 21st in 21:38 and 21:44. That put WDC up by four points and WDC gained four more points with its fifth runner placing 33rd and the Lakers’ fifth racer placing 37th.

“Our goal for the girls’ team was to finish in the top two or three and the boys to place in the top five or six,” coach Johnsrud said.  “We knew WDC was going to be who we had to beat for the girls’ team to advance.  We have seen them several times this year and always came up a little short.

“I think our kids battled really well and most of our kids were peaking at the right time of the season.  We were right there, but unfortunately, it did not happen for us this year.

“I give credit to both Staples-Motley and WDC.  They are well-coached and very talented and I anticipate they will do very well at the state meet.”

Audrey Brownell, of Staples-Motley, won the girls’ individual title with a time of 18:57, while LPGE’s Caroline Kuehne was second in 19:16.

Lauryn Ankeny placed fourth overall for the Lakers with a time of 19:59 to earn a berth at state, while Kiearra Wilmes placed 13th with a time of 20:50 that was 17 seconds away from the final individual state berth.

Piper Citrowske placed 22nd out of 112 runners with a time of 21:38, followed by Elsey Hagen in 23rd (21:44), Aubrey Stark in 39th (22:33), Sydney Ankeny in 48th (23:12 and Teagan Stark in 52nd (23:24).

•  In the boys competition, Staples-Motley earned the team title with 56 points, Bertha-Hewitt was second with 62 and the Lakers were sixth overall with 161 points out of 17 full teams.

Brandon Kampsen earned the boys’ title with a time of 16:04, while Brady Rach, of Bertha-Hewitt, edged a teammate for second with a time of 16:43.

Maeson Tank placed ninth overall for the Lakers with a time of 17:07 to earn the second-to-last individual state berth for the boys.

Nick Ankeny was next for the Lakers with a time of 18:25 to place 26th, followed on the Minnewaska team by Zach Palmer in 33rd (18:47), Jayce Kovarik in 40th (19:01), Ian Mils in 53rd (19:37), Carter Dinsmore in 79th (20:23) and James Ward in 88th (20:58) out of 120 runners.

“This is our fifth year of having cross-country back at Minnewaska and our boys have come a long way in those five years,” coach Johnsrud said.  “We were young for so long and we finally have matured and been able to compete with some pretty good programs; going from being at the bottom of the section to finishing sixth out of 21 teams this year.  These athletes have worked hard to get this far and are motivated to continue to improve each year.”

at Section 6A Boys and Girls Cross-Country

Girls varsity team results:  (1) Staples-Motley 46  (2) Wadena-DC 83  (3) Minnewaska Area 91  (4) Breckenridge-Wahp 122  (5) Ottertail Central 143  (6) Morris Area-CA 189, WCA 215, Pillager 224, LPGE 258, Bertha-Hewitt 266, Sauk Centre 285, Osakis 287, ABE 338, Benson-KMS 377, Border West 388, New Testament Christian 455

Girls state qualifiers:  (1) Audrey Brownell, SM 18:57  (2) Caroline Kuehne, LPGE 19:16  (3) Aften Robinson, SM 19:50  (4) Lauryn Ankeny, Minnewaska 19:59  (5) Britta Sweeney, WDC 20:04  (6) Kendra Miller, BH 20:10  (7) Katie Holzner, Hillcrest 20:12  (8) Kaia Fiskness, Osakis 20:18  (9) Norah Froslee, OTC 20:33

Minnewaska Area times:   (4) Lauryn Ankeny 19:59  (13) Kiearra Wilmes 20:50  (22) Piper Citrowske 21:38  (23) Elsey Hagen 21:44  (39) Aubrey Stark 22:33  (48) Sydney Ankeny 23:12  (52) Teagan Stark 23:24 . . . 112 runners

Boys varsity team results:  (1) Staples-Motley 56  (2) Bertha-Hewitt 62  (3) Sauk Centre 100  (4) Wadena-DC 134  (5) Ottertail Central 139  (6) Minnewaska 161, Osakis 179, WCA 196, Morris Area-CA 255, Benson-KMS 302, Brecken-Wahp 303, Ortonville 307, Border West 348, Parkers Prairie 358, ABE 372, Pillager 419, LPGE 428

Boys state qualifiers:  (1) Brandon Kampsen, SC 16:04  (2) Brady Rach, BH 16:43  (3) Zane Guderjahn, BH 16:48  (4) Luke Brownell, SM 16:52  (5) Issiah Tabatt, SM 16:54  (6) Bjorn Brunsberg, WDC 17:03  (7) James Suchy, Par Prairie 17:05  (8) Zackery Bruder, Osakis 17:06  (9) Maeson Tank, Minnewaska 17:07  (10) Jacob Drevlow, SC 17:15

Minnewaska:   (9) Maeson Tank 17:07  (26) Nick Ankeny 18:25  (33) Zach Palmer 18:47  (40) Jayce Kovarik 19:01  (53) Ian Mills 19:37  (79) Carter Dinsmore 20:23  (88) James Ward 20:58 . . . 120 runners