Both Ashby-Brandon-Evansville cross country races were decided by one point on Friday night at Pine Ridge Golf Course in Evansville. While the girls were able to squeak out a win against Parkers Prairie and Bertha-Hewitt, A-B-E was edged out by the Panthers in the boys race.

Johnathan and James Suchy finished first (17:11) and second (18:11), which ended up being the difference-maker for Parkers Prairie. A-B-E’s Hunter Norby, racing in his third meet, finished outside of the top spot for the first time. Having two experienced runners pace him to an 18:27 finish helped him learn the ropes.

“I talked to (Johnathan Suchy) after the race and he said I gave him a little bit of a challenge at the start,” Norby said. “I told him that my coach said to run right behind you, but that didn’t really work out. Then his brother passed me. They’re so fast. Both of them. It was fun to compete with guys who are a lot faster than I am.”

Wes Siira (left), Solomon Wales (middle) and Jaden Hoidahl run in a during at Ashby-Brandon-Evansville's home meet on Friday afternoon at Pine Ridge Golf Course in Evansville. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)
Wes Siira (left), Solomon Wales (middle) and Jaden Hoidahl run in a during at Ashby-Brandon-Evansville's home meet on Friday afternoon at Pine Ridge Golf Course in Evansville. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

Wes Siira showed his veteran experience by leading a group of A-B-E runners in the middle of the pack. He finished in sixth place (19:11), with Solomon Wales only nine seconds behind him in eighth. Jayden Hoidahl (19:40) and Logan Froemming (19:58) recorded sub-20 minute times in 10th and 12th.

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“I talk a lot about stealing someone’s energy,” head coach Robert Bosma said. “When you’re hurting and when you’re in pain you can use that energy to uplift you. In team sports, you rely on your teammates to lift you up. In cross country, you’re all on your own. It’s so easy to slow down and get discouraged when you’re by yourself. When you’re in that pack you can find ways to lift yourself.”

Matson Hoff runs in free space at Ashby-Brandon-Evansville's home meet on Friday afternoon at Pine Ridge Golf Course in Evansville. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)
Matson Hoff runs in free space at Ashby-Brandon-Evansville's home meet on Friday afternoon at Pine Ridge Golf Course in Evansville. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

Norby’s time on the football field has helped him so far through his first three meets. While he’s still learning the technical side of the sport, his ability to handle the tough conditions makes rainy days like Friday much easier.

“The rain and the wind isn’t really a problem for me,” Norby said. “I mean, I play football in the snow. When you start running you can’t feel your body and you’re just locked in at a point. I just try to keep running at my pace.”

Through three meets, the A-B-E boys squad has taken home two first-place prizes and one second. Bosma attributes some of the success to an added-level of intensity and competitiveness in practice that he hasn’t seen in years past.

Logan Froemming makes a turn on the first lap at Ashby-Brandon-Evansville's home meet on Friday afternoon at Pine Ridge Golf Course in Evansville. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)
Logan Froemming makes a turn on the first lap at Ashby-Brandon-Evansville's home meet on Friday afternoon at Pine Ridge Golf Course in Evansville. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

“We have 11 kids right now trying to race on varsity. We’ve never had this before,” Bosma said. “In practice, we will have the kids do drills and repetitions and by the end it always comes down to the kids refusing to quit. If Jaden (Norby) or Jacob (Cook) are asked to do eight reps, one of them will do nine while the other wants to one-up him and do 10. These kids refuse to let the negativity come in. There’s always a kid that says they don’t want to do something, and this year they just ignore that. It makes it so much easier and fun to coach this group because of their drive.”

ASHBY-BRANDON-EVANSVILLE BOYS VARSITY

THIRD- Hunter Norby 18:27; FIFTH- Wes Siira 19:11; EIGHTH- Solomon Wales 19:20; 10TH- Jayden Hoidahl 19:40; 12TH- Logan Froemming 19:58; T-14TH- T-Jaden Norby 20:13; 14TH- Matson Hoff 20:13;