The West Central Area and Osakis cross country teams battled some hot conditions on Sept. 16 in a big field of runners at Pierz.

The West Central Area boys once again proved to be a force as the Knights beat fourth-ranked Staples-Motley by two points to win the meet. WCA had 72 points behind four runners finishing in the top 10. The Osakis boys were 16th overall with 426 points.

Jacob Bright
Jacob Bright

Senior Jacob Bright once again paced the Knights as he finished second overall in 16:26.5. Jack Van Kempen was sixth in 17:29, Kade Runge was seventh in 17:35.3 and Kyle Schill was 10th in 17:43.5. Shad Swanson rounded out the scoring in 47th place (19:22.3), and Dane Anderson also ran varsity, taking 107th in 20:57.6.

“With 32 teams competing, many from our section, the results were a good indicator of where we stand amongst teams that we will need to beat to make it to state,” WCA head coach John Van Kempen said. “Kyle has been coming off an illness but he looked strong today. Our usual No. 5 (runner) dropped out about halfway into the race and our usual No. 6 runner is injured. Shad Swanson came through big time for us, holding off several runners down the stretch. Shad is just a relentless worker in practice and follows the lead of Jacob, Jack and Kyle. Dane Anderson also filled in for the first time on varsity.”

Osakis senior Carter Grove once again led the Silverstreaks as he took eighth overall in 17:40 among the 182 runners. Logan Grove was Osakis’ next finisher in 82nd place (20:26.1) and Marcus Wolf was 84th in 20:28.6. Brently Boogaard was 99th in 20:50.4, Joseph Van Acker was 155th (22:54.7), Thomas Van Acker was 176th (24:47.4) and John Pahl was 179th (25:15.5).

WCA girls eighth, Osakis 20th

A total of 21 programs ran enough athletes to qualify for the team scores in the girls race as WCA finished eighth (180 points) and Osakis was 20th (570). Staples-Motley won the meet with 53 points, while Albany was a distant second with 98.

Sophomore Lexi Bright led the Knights as she finished eighth in 21:21.9. Teagen Nelson was 14th in 21:47.1, while Bryn Fernholz finished 37th (23:02.4). Alexa Blume was 69th (24:34.7), Taylor Bennett 82nd (25:04.6) and Brooklyn Runge 138th (28:40.1).

“To finish in eighth place was pretty good,” coach Van Kempen said. “There were three state-ranked teams ahead of us and we now know where we stand and what we can do to compete with them.”

Junior Destiny Dorman led the Osakis girls with a 109th-place finish in 26:20.2. Madison Nystrom was 116th (26:39.6), Emma Tenhoff was 136th (27:54.3), Hailey Hagedon 147th (29:59.6) and Julianna Collins rounded out the lineup in 156th place (32:06.5).