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Cross country: Chargers see progress in Melrose

Wesley Siira1 / 2
Kaylee Bitzan2 / 2

This is a season of firsts for the Brandon-Evansville cross country teams, and Tuesday saw another step in the right direction for the new program.

The Chargers ran five individuals in the boys varsity race in Melrose, allowing them to compete in the team portion of the race for the first time. Brandon-Evansville finished 10th among the 10 teams with 309 points.

"It's good to see us competing," head coach Robert Bosma said. "The next step is to become more competitive and learn to run with each other to motivate each other. Though it was a fairly flat course, there were a lot of turns that prevented the runners from getting into a comfortable stride."

Eighth grader Wesley Siira led the Chargers after taking 52nd among varsity runners in a time of 20:22.3.

"He has been our most consistent runner and it's great watching him competing with guys from around the area," Bosma said. "He knows who he wants to run with or try to beat."

Freshman Nolan Bitzan was next in line for B-E as he bested his previous personal-best time by more than three minutes in 21:33.5. That was good for 62nd in the varsity race. Senior Alex Pikkaraine was 64th (22:45.1), sophomore Blake Merritt was 65th (25:16.1) and freshman Anakin Bosek was 66th (26:09.2) to round out the Chargers' lineup. Logan Froemming, a seventh grader, also ran in the junior high race and took 12th in the 3,200-meter run (14:21.5).

The Chargers had four girls compete as individuals in the varsity/junior varsity race. Freshman Kaylee Bitzan led that group with a time of 26:03.2, good for 53rd place. Sophomore Caitlyn Deschene wasn't far behind in 60th place (26:53).

"For most of the race, Caitlyn and Kaylee ran together," Bosma said. "They pushed themselves and ran a great race."

Junior Christina Kuismi finished almost a minute faster than her previous PR in 29:23.8, and Kerryn Lund, a junior, also had a PR in 31:22.

"I look forward to our next meet next Thursday in Fergus Falls to see if we can keep improving and competing," Bosma said.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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