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Cross country: Nelson, Bright pace WCA at Dragon Twilight

The West Central Area cross country teams held their own at the Dragon Twilight Cross Country Meet in Moorhead on Friday night.

“It’s a little intimidating when you see teams pull up with two buses and their kids file out one after another,” WCA head coach John Van Kempen said. “I’m thinking we maybe overstepped our boundaries. But when that gun fires, our kids are not going to back down and (they) raced their hardest.”

The girls placed third out of five teams and the boys fourth out of six, with Teagen Nelson and Jacob Bright leading the way for their respective teams. Bright finished in 16:28.4, good for fifth place in the 54-man field. Nelson, meanwhile, came in ninth of 42 with her time of 20:43.8.

Perham -- a cross country powerhouse in Minnesota -- won both the boys and girls meets with 33 and 44 respective points. The West Central Area boys finished with 75 and the girls with 64.

Lexi Bright also recorded a top-10 finish for the Knights, placing 10th in the girls race with a time of 20:45.3. Abby Van Kempen was close behind in 11th at 20:48.7, while Bryn Fernholz followed in 14th (20:59.7) and Kennedy Porter 32nd (23.52.9).

For the boys, Kyle Schill crossed the finish line in 13th at 16:59.6, just edging out teammates Jack Van Kempen (14th, 17:02.9) and Kade Runge (15th, 17:03.7). Alex Salwasser ended up in 31st at 17:54.0 to round out the WCA scorers.

“We knew we were in for a dogfight but couldn’t be more proud of how our kids responded to the competition,” coach Van Kempen said. “I have witnessed many teams over many years of coaching, but both our girls and boys teams that we put on the starting line have hearts of lions.”

The Knights will race again at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13, at New London-Spicer.

Boys team results

1-Perham 33; 2-Moorhead 45; 3-Bemidji 70; 4-West Central Area 75; 5-Fargo Davies (N.D.) 116; 6-Bagley 179.

WCA boys individual results

5-Jacob Bright 16:28.4; 13-Kyle Schill 16:59.6; 14-Jack Van Kempen 17:02.9; 15-Kade Runge 17:03.7; 31-Alex Salwasser 17:54.0; 36-Reuben Swanson 18:13.3; 41-Benett Grove 19:24.5; 43-Hunter Mickelson 19:33.6; 53-Shad Swanson 20:55.0.

Girls team results

1-Perham 44; 2-Moorhead 46; 3-West Central Area 64; 4-Bemidji 69; 5-Northern Cass 144.

WCA girls individual results

9-Teagen Nelson 20:43.8; 10-Lexi Bright 20:45.3; 11-Abby Van Kempen 20:48.7; 14-Bryn Fernholz 20:59.7; 32-Kennedy Porter 23:52.9.

Micah Friez

Micah Friez covers Bemidji State basketball and BSU for the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Beaver basketball updates.

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