Cross country roundup: Area programs compete at conference championships

The Minnewaska girls finished first in the West Central Conference meet, while the boys were second. Osakis boys took third at the CMC championship, and the girls posted their first varsity team score of the season.

Lauryn Ankeny.jpg
Minnewaska Lakers freshman Lauryn Ankeny runs to a second-place finish during the West Central Conference cross country championship on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022, at Olivia Golf Club in Olivia.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune
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The Minnewaska Lakers’ girls and boys showed up and shined bright at the West Central Conference championships on Oct. 17, taking first and second place at Olivia Golf Club.

“It’s awesome. You want your kids to always be peaking at the right time of the season,” Minnewaska head coach Jennifer Johnsrud said. “The girls raced really well. We’ve had a goal to win the conference.”

Minnewaska’s girls won the WCC title for a fourth straight season with 41 points. Next was Melrose (57), West Central Area (60), Morris/Chokio Alberta (87), Sauk Centre (136), Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (158) and Montevideo (203). Morris/Chokio-Alberta’s Hailey Werk took the title in 19 minutes, 59.0 seconds.

Sauk Centre won the boys WCC title, posting 53 points. Minnewaska scored 73 points to finish ahead of Montevideo (76), West Central Area (81), Melrose (88), Morris/CA (130) and Benson/KMS (140). Sauk Centre’s Brandon Kampsen, ranked No. 2 for Class A individuals, decisively won the race in 15:56.6.

Maeson Tank.jpg
Minnewaska Lakers junior Maeson Tank runs to a second-place finish during the West Central Conference cross country championship on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022, at Olivia Golf Club in Olivia.<br/>
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

Minnewaska junior Maeson Tank took second in 17:25.7.


Leading the Lakers’ girls to the WCC championship was freshman Lauryn Ankeny. She finished in second place with a time of 20:28.3 seconds.

“Lauren is the definition of what we call ‘Laker tough’ on our team,” Johnsrud said. “She works so hard all the time and she’s competitive. … She’s just an athlete beyond her years.”

Minnewaska, ranked No. 11 in Class A, saw all seven of its runners finish in the top 25.

Alongside Ankeny, seniors Kiearra Wilmes and Elsey Hagen placed in the top 10. Wilmes finished fourth in 20:50.0 and Hagen finished eighth with a time of 21:28.0.

“I’m glad we could keep the streak going,” Ankeny said. “I’m really happy that my teammates could run fast times and place high.”

As for Minnewaska’s boys, their top five all finished in the top 25.

Nick Ankeny took 13th in 18:44.9 and Zach Palmer was 14th in 18:48.9 for Minnewaska.

“I was really happy that everyone pulled through and had great times,” Tank said. “I think we’re talking about taking third or fourth in sections, but we’re going to have to step it up another notch.”


(Story by Michael Lyne / Forum News Service)


Boys team scoring - (1) Sauk Centre, 53 … (2) Minnewaska, 73 … (3) Montevideo, 76 … (4) West Central, 81 … (5) Melrose, 88 … (6) Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta, 130 … (6) Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, 140


TOP FIVE — (1) Brandon Kampsen, SC, 15:56.6 … (2) Maeson Tank, Minn, 17:25.7 … (3) Roman Mihailovschi, WCA, 17:28.5 … (4) Jacob Drevlow, SC, 17:32.3 … (5) Brady Andrews, Mont, 18:10.1

MINNEWASKA — (2) Tank … (13) Nick Ankeny, 18:44.9 … (14) Zach Palmer, 18:48.9 … (23) Ian Mills, 19:17.3 … (27) Jayce Kovarik, 19:37.4 … (41) Carter Dinsmore, 20:26.4 … (49) James Ward, 21:02.1

WCA - Roman Mihailovschhi - third, 17:28.5; Eli Bergman - 7th, 18:12; Zeke Sieckert - 20th, 19:06.2; Neko Moran - 21st, 19:10.6; Simon Moritz - 36th, 19:59.6; Aaron Biss - 39th, 20:20.7; Isaac Allen - 42nd, 20:27.3

Girls team scoring


(1) Minnewaska, 41 … (2) Melrose, 57 … (3) West Central, 60 … (4) Morris/CA, 87 … (5) Sauk Centre, 136 … (6) Benson/KMS, 158 … (7) Montevideo, 203


TOP FIVE — (1) Hailey Werk, M/CA, 19:59.0 … (2) Lauryn Ankeny, Minn, 20:28.3 … (3) Kayla Meyer, Mel, 20:35.0 … (4) Kiearra Wilmes, Minn, 20:50.0 … (5) Kendal Fischer, M/CA, 20:51.2

MINN — (2) Ankeny … (4) Wilmes … (8) Elsey Hagen, 21:28.0 … (13) Aubrey Stark, 22:10.1 … (14) Piper Citrowske, 22:10.6 … (20) Teagan Stark, 23:03.7 … (24) Sydney Ankeny, 23:32.4

WCA - Kyra Beyer - sixth, 21:05.9; Taylor Bennett - ninth, 21:33.9; Alexa Blume - 11th, 21:55.9; Skylar LaRue - 15th, 22:12.9; Terina Blascyk - 19th, 22:52.9; Brooklyn Strobel - 21st, 23:11.2; Blaire Rueter - 22nd, 23:13.2

Osakis boys third in CMC meet

The Osakis boys cross country team finished third in the seven-team field at the Central Minnesota Conference championship on Tuesday.

The Silverstreaks scored 90 team points. Saint John’s Prep won with 34, and Holdingford was second at 54.

Zach Meyer of SJP won the boys’ varsity 5K in 16:54.20 as the lone runner to finish under 17 minutes.

Zack Bruder

Sophomore Zack Bruder paced Osakis in a time of 18:12.20 to take seventh out of the 48 individual runners in the varsity race. Kale Drevlow was 12th (19:05.20), Jaxon Christner finished 20th (20:05.20), Marcus Wolf was 23rd (20:24.90) and Jacob Taplin finished 28th (20:29.90) to round out the team scoring.

Brennen Gustafson (31st, 20:46.20) and Chase Johanson (43rd, 22:32.90) also ran varsity for the Osakis boys.

"We really put together a team effort to take third place in a very competitive conference," Osakis head coach Justin Dahlheimer said. "Jacob Taplin has been managing an injury and his teammates stepped up and had their best races of the year to help us finish as high as we possibly could have. Marcus Wolf set the tone of the chase pack that finished out our score only a few points ahead of 4th place. That's exactly the type of leadership he's been providing all season.

"Kale Drevlow took all-conference honorable mention, and Zackery Bruder went after it today with an aggressive first mile as he prepares for having to compete with kids of this caliber for a state appearance. Zack was able to secure an all-conference spot with that effort. Jaxon Christner and Chase Johanson had great races for 8th-graders who are just gaining experience. They have a ton of potential that we are getting a great glimpse of."

Eighth-grader Kaia Fiskness led the Osakis girls varsity to its first team score of the season as Fiskness finished fifth among 44 runners with a time of 21:52.50. Olivia Pauly of Saint John’s Prep won the girls’ race in 19:53.60.

The Osakis girls were sixth (105 points) in the six-team field. Eden Valley-Watkins won the CMC title with 40 points.

Eighth-grader Kathryn Collins finished second for Osakis in 16th place overall (24:03.40). Seventh-graders Harlie Schwope (26th, 25:05.60), Olivia Christians (28th, 25:17.60) and Anne Marie Ruegemer (30th, 25:48.80) finished the team scoring.

Sophomore Stephy Marthaler (42nd, 31:26.50) and 8th-grader Abigail Fiskness (44th, 32:29) rounded out the Silverstreaks’ lineup.

"We are so proud that this young team, with four of the girls running their first 5k ever or first of this season," Dahlheimer said. "They were able to compete, beat some teams, and prove that they have what it takes. Fifth place is a great start for them as most will have 4-5 more years of high school varsity cross country in front of them. Kaia Fiskness ran another smart race, getting her first all-conference designation in her first ever varsity CMC race. Katie Collins just missed all-conference honorable mention with her 16th-place finish. She's running so well right now.

"We are proud of the efforts that Harlie Schwope, Olivia Christians, and Ann Marie Ruegemer made in their first ever 5k races. Stephy Marthaler's leadership has been key for developing confidence in these young girls and a big reason we were able to debut them at the varsity distance later in the season and see such great success."


GIRLS TEAM SCORES - Eden Valley-Watkins - 40; SJP - 70; Holdingford - 79; Maple Lake - 94; Osakis - 105; Paynesville - 105

BOYS TEAM SCORES - SJP - 34; Holdingford - 54; Osakis - 90; Eden Valley-Watkins - 99; Royalton - 124; Paynesville Area - 159; Maple Lake - 175

Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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