Cross Country: Young Silverstreaks take in the state meet experience
For the first time in program history, the Osakis cross country team had multiple athletes run in the state meet. Parkers Prairie's James Suchy, along with Minnewaska's Maeson Tank and Lauryn Ankeny finish the season strong with solid showings at the Class A state meet.
NORTHFIELD - Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, was a historic day for the Osakis cross country program.
For the first time in its history, Osakis had multiple runners compete in the Minnesota State High School League Class A state meet, as sophomore Zackery Bruder competed in the boys race and 8th-grader Kaia Fiskeness competed in the girls race at St. Olaf College.
“They had great efforts,” Osakis head coach Justin Dahlheimer said. “The temperature and weather conditions were not ideal for fast times. I was more looking at how they competed, and they competed well for their first time on this stage.”
Bruder finished with a time of 17:26.45 in the boys 5K and 74th overall out of 158 runners. Fiskness ran a time of 20:57.40 in the girls 5K and placed 86th out of 158.
Both said nervousness wasn’t too much of a factor as the race went on.
“I get kind of nervous when I’m on the starting line, but when I start running, that nervousness kind of goes away,” Fiskenss said.
“I just kind of ran my race,” Bruder said. “I wasn’t too nervous coming into it.”
Starting out races stronger was one of Fiskness’ goals as the season went on.
“One of my biggest challenges was starting out fast in races because sometimes I start slower than I want to,” she said. “When I see my teammates going faster, that sort of encourages me to catch up to them and go faster.”
Bruder and Fiskness said this meet was a learning experience and a confidence booster.
Fiskness had a strong season for the Silverstreaks, which included wins in an 8th-grade race at an invite in Morris, wins at junior varsity meets at Long Prairie-Grey Eagle and Pierz, and she accomplished her goal this season of breaking the school record , which she did in the 8th place finish at the Section 6A meet to get to the state meet. She also had three top-six finishes in varsity races this year.
“If you’ve been coaching runners for a while, you know that young girl runners are very dangerous because they don’t have expectations and anxiety over those expectations,” Dahlheimer said. “Kaia came into the season with no limits on her ability, and she’s competed with that fearlessness. I’m so proud of her season and the trust she’s put in us coaches to pace her development so she can continue to raise the bar of her potential.”
Bruder finished the season with six top-eight finishes, including a pair of third place finishes at an invite in Morris and at the Royalton Invitational.
“They have the bulk of their running careers ahead of them, which will give them some great opportunities in future years,” Dahlheimer said. “Both are hard-working and driven, so when you combine that with what they’ve accomplished, they have a very promising future.”
Bruder said one of the toughest things he had to see and work through this season was seeing one of his teammates go down with an injury.
Moving forward, Bruder's goal is to set a personal record time of under 17 minutes. His personal record is 17:06.00, which he set at the 2022 Section 6A meet.
Prior to Saturday's meet, the last Silverstreak to compete at the state meet was Carter Grove who placed 29th (16:43.48) in the boys race in 2019 as a senior.
For Osakis, this season was used to measure the growth since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020.
“We’ve been in rebuilding mode since Covid derailed much of what we had built,” he said. “This season has been an indication that things are back on track. We couldn’t be happier to have our training group intact. Zack and Kaia’s success wouldn’t happen without our team and our culture aligned to push them and support them on a daily basis.”
The Silverstreaks have four seniors on the roster this year, Kale Drevlow, Marcus Wolf, Isaac Loverink and Chrisob Sadlemeyer, who have helped lead the way this season.
“We have a core group of seniors that are all-in to what we do and how we support each other; they have been critical in bringing our younger runners along,” Dahlheimer said. “We also have younger runners (especially on our girls side) that are already mature in their leadership skills. We start the season telling every kid that they are a leader, and we’ve seen success in becoming a family because of that focus on leading by serving each other.”
In Saturday’s boys 5K, Sauk Centre’s Brandon Kampsen walked away with the state title, clocking in at 15:49.44. Heritage Christian won the team title by three points over Luverne.
Parkers Prairie senior James Suchy capped off his senior season nicely with a time of 17:08.6, which placed him at 47th overall. This was a 14-spot improvement from his 61st place finish at the 2021 state meet.
Suchy qualified for the state meet by placing seventh at the Section 6A meet, just ahead of Bruder. Suchy had six top-eight finishes in his senior year.
The Minnewaska Lakers had a solid showing at Saturday’s meet. Junior Maeson Tank finished with a time of 17:12.96 and placed 56th.
On the girls side, Lauryn Ankeny capped off her freshman season with a 23rd place finish. She finished a time of 19:46.93, her second-best time of the season (best - 19:19.6 set at Perham Invite).
In the nine meets leading up to the state meet, Ankeny placed in the top nine each time out.
Tank had a similar season for the Lakers, placing in the top nine of the 10 meets before the state meet.
Nevis’ Jade Rypkema won the girls race with a time of 17:43.47 and beat out a pair of Murray County Central/Fulda runners. Perham won the girls meet with 56 meet points.
Dahlheimer is excited about their future and the program's future as a whole.
“The excitement never wavers,” he said. “We have great kids and I coach with a great assistant coach, Alison Triebenbach. We have supportive parents who tolerate some of our unconventional ways and our onerous practice schedule. Now we have two athletes who know what the state competition feels like. They will return into the future seasons determined to work hard enough to be back here. I know that will push their teammates to help them and, in turn, raise their expectations, which is what is most exciting about our team’s future.”
By having multiple athletes run in the state meet, the program was able to bring down more kids to see what the state meet is like.
“This allowed us to bring a few more kids with and hopefully plant the seed that it would be even more fun if we could get a whole team down here,” Dahlheimer said.
CLASS A TOP EIGHT BOYS TEAM SCORES - 1. Heritage Christian, 99; 2. Luverne, 102; 3. Perham, 133; 4. Park Rapids Area, 139; 5. Greenway/Nashwauk/Keewatin, 157; 6. Staples-Motley, 188; 7. Bertha-Hewitt, 200; 8. Redwood Valley, 204
CLASS A TOP EIGHT GIRLS TEAM SCORES - 1. Perham, 56; 2. St. Cloud Cathedral, 78; 3. Staples-Motley, 107; 4. Murray County Central/Fulda, 149; 5. Lake City, 167; 6. Canby/Minneota, 200; 7. Northwest Nighthawks, 210; 8. Hawley, 238
CLASS A BOYS STATE MEDALISTS - 1. Brandon Kampsen (Sauk Centre), 15:49.44; 2. Henry Karelitz (Nova Classical Academy) 15:55.55; 3. Bjorn Anderson (Perham), 15:57.82; 4. Will Ahrens (Redwood Valley) 16:07.81; 5. Owen Janiszeski (Luverne) 16:09.09; 6. Noah Foster (Cromwell-Wright) 16:14.65; 7. Cole Stencel (Maple River) 16:24.03; 8. Brady Rach (Bertha-Hewitt) 16:27.19; 9. Garrison Hubka (Kingsland) 16:29.72; 10. Noah Huot (Park Rapids Area) 16:30.75
CLASS A GIRLS STATE MEDALISTS - 1. Jade Rypkema (Nevis) 17:43.47; 2. Amanda Overgaauw (Murray County Central/Fulda), 17:48.97; 3. Ashley Overgaauw (Murray County Central/Fulda), 18:52.06; 4. Sonja Semling (Cotter) 18:53.43; 5. Jenna DeBates (Luverne) 18:54.34; 6. Anjalie Aho (United North Central) 18:54.57; 7. Audrey Brownwell (Staples-Motley) 18:59.49; 8. Addison Hoof (Lester Prairie) 19:01.05; 9. Caroline Kuehne (Long Prairie-Grey Eagle) 19:01.51; 10. Kaylee Walkin (Windom Area) 19:04.06
AREA GIRLS TIMES - 23. Lauryn Ankeny (Minnewaska) 19:46.93; 86. Kaia Fiskness (Osakis) 20:57.40
AREA BOYS TIMES - 47. James Suchy (Parkers Prairie) 17:08.56; 56. Maeson Tank (Minnewaska) 17:12.96; 74. Zackery Bruder (Osakis) 17:26.45