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WCA girls push state-ranked Pequot, boys roll again

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West Central Area's Macee Grosz runs during a home meet earlier this season. Grosz was the Knights' third finisher at state-ranked Pequot Lakes on Friday night, finishing sixth overall in 20:52.51. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

The West Central Area cross country teams have done a good job of testing themselves against quality competition despite being limited to a maximum of three programs at a meet this year.

The Knights did so again on Friday in Pequot Lakes. The Patriots’ girls team is ranked sixth in the latest Class A state polls, and WCA pushed them to the brink, falling just shy as Pequot Lakes scored 27 to the Knights’ 28 points.

“Their 1-2 punch is as good as anyone’s top two in the state,” WCA head coach John Van Kempen said of Pequot Lakes’ Calia and Carly Chaney. “Lexi Bright split them up and ran between them to finish second (in 19:29.63). Pequot had the next two finishers for third and fourth and the Knights had the next four in fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth. Pequot had the ninth and 10th-place finishers. We couldn’t have been more pleased with how our girls didn’t back down.”

Taylor Bennett was not far behind Bright as she finished fifth (20:30.17) to lead that wave of WCA runners. Macee Grosz was sixth (20:52.51), Terina Blascyk seventh (21:23.66) and Halle Foslien was eighth (21:55.72).

“Halle passed two Pequot runners down the stretch so our watchers were scrambling trying to do the math,” Van Kempen said. “Alexa Blume was WCA’s next finisher in 12th (22:36.55), followed by Sydney Ulrich in 14th (22:57.65) and Brynn Fernholz in 18th (23:58.41).”

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The WCA boys, still ranked first in the Class A state polls, made easy work of both Pequot Lakes and Breckenridge-Wahpeton, nearly accomplishing a perfect score. The Knights won with 18 as Pequot was second with 39 points and B-W finished with 79.

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West Central Area's Kyle Schill races to the finish line at the Knights' home meet earlier this year. Schill won at Pequot Lakes on Friday in a time of 16:47.26. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

“Kyle Schill led the boys out and raced like he had something to prove, finishing in 16:47.26 and ahead of teammate Kade Runge (16:59.40) who had to pass a racer down the stretch,” Van Kempen said. “Alex Salwasser was fourth (17:04.21), Shad Swanson in fifth (17:52.57) and Reubens Swanson in sixth (18:00.80)...Peyton Hanson was 12th (18:22.74), Roman Mihailovschi in 15th (19:04.06) and Eli Bergman in 17th (19:26.78) for his first varsity experience and under 19:30.”

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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