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Patriot boys 2nd in Section 8A: Pequot Lakes qualifies for state meet for 1st time since 2008

The Pequot Lakes boys were Section 8A runners-up on Friday, Oct. 30, and now advance to the Class A state meet. Team members are Levi Palmer, Marty Fitzer, Max Johnston, Jacob Tschida, Reid Pierzinski, Cody Huss, Tony Fitzer, Cam Boller and Russell Pierzinski. Submitted photo

The Pequot Lakes boys' cross country team finished second behind the Perham Yellowjackets at the Section 8A meet on Friday, Oct. 30, in Bagley. The Patriots will now advance to compete at the Class A state meet at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7, at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

Perham won the boys' title with 28 points while the Patriots were second with 84 and Hawley third with 135. The top two teams and top eight individuals not on the top two teams advance to state. This will be the first trip to state for team competition for the Pequot Lakes boys since the 2008 season.

"Perham has had a strong cross country program for the last decade, so it was no surprise to us how well they ran at sections," said Pequot Lakes head coach Jeff Brever. "At sections we just needed to focus on ourselves and run our best race."

Pequot Lakes' Reid Pierzinski finished seventh in 17:13 while teammate Tony Fitzer was ninth in 17:18. Others scoring points for the Patriots were Max Johnston, 18th in 17:51; Jacob Tschida, 21st in 17:58, and Levi Palmer, 32nd in 18:23.

"Reid (Pierzinski) and Tony (Fitzer) performed well, and Max (Johnston) is an eighth grader who has been a big surprise this year," Brever said. "Max's first varsity race was at Bagley (on Sept. 22), and since then he keeps improving every race. He ran a personal best 17:51, which is 33 seconds faster than a month ago at Bagley."

Fitzer added that "hard work" was the key to the Patriots' success.

"It took a while to sink in," the junior said of making state. "Reid and I knew that were going as individuals, but we didn't know the team was going until the awards ceremony.

"Right before the race we had talked about all of our hard work this season. Coach (Brever) said we put in way more work and miles than the other team (at the section meet). I think that motivated us."

Brever was chosen Section 8A coach of the year while the Patriots' Anna Larson was honored as section assistant coach of the year.

The Pine River-Backus boys finished 13th while the Tigers' Luke Downie was 27th overall.

In the girls' race, Pequot Lakes' Grace McGuire finished 16th in her first section meet. The sophomore missed advancing to state by three spots.

"For what the girls team has been going through all year, with injuries and health issues, I felt they performed well," Brever said. "Grace just missed going to state. This is a big eye opener as 13 of the top runners from last year's sections meet returned this year. Grace proved she is a runner to be reckoned at sections next year."

Brever added that Cassidy Chaney, another talented eighth grader, ran her best race at sections as she finished 40th in 21:30.

"Cassidy ran her first meet at Bagley a little over a month ago and was our fifth runner," Brever said. "She was our No.2 runner at sections, and ran almost two minutes faster. Cassidy continues to improve every race and saved her best for last."

The PR-B girls finished 16th while Sidney Lodge paced the Tigers by placing 61st.

Boys team scores: 1-Perham 28, 2-Pequot Lakes 84, 3-Hawley 135, 4-Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 139, 5-Pelican Rapids 139, 6-Wadena-Deer Creek 150, 7-Roseau 192, 8-Park Rapids 220-, 9-Frazee 236, 10-Crosby-Ironton 251, 11-United North Central 271, 12-Warroad 285, 13-Pine River-Backus 322, 14-Bagley-Fosston 379, 15-Lake of the Woods 443, 16-West Marshall 490

Individual winner: Hunter Kjelshus (Perham) 16:39

Pequot Lakes results: 7-Reid Pierzinski 17:13, 9-Tony Fitzer 17:18, 18-Max Johnston 17:51, 21-Jacob Tschida 17;58, 32-Levi Palmer 18:23, 38-Cody Huss 18:34, 44-Cam Boller 18:48

Pine River-Backus results: 27-Luke Downie 18:10, 71-Josh Sechser 19:29, 79-Torry Hirschey 19:48, 84-Troy Fetter 20:08, 86-Nick Ackerman 20:10, 88-Luke Sechser 20:16, 99-Kyle Tschida 21:31

Girls team scores: 1-Perham 49, 2-United North Central 119, 3-Park Rapids 120, 4-East Grand Forks 134, 5-Pelican Rapids 148, 6-Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 192, 7-Pequot Lakes 205, 8-Warroad 206, 9-Crosby-Ironton 223, 10-Bagley-Fosston 254, 11-Wadena-Deer Creek 259, 12-Frazee 259, 13-Roseau 273, 14-West Marshall 391, 15-Hawley 405, 16-Pine River-Backus 416

Individual winner: Mariah Pake (DGF) 19:13

Pequot Lakes results: 16-Grace McGuire 20:34, 40-Cassidy Chaney 21:30, 42-Kristin Skog 21:46, 46-Jannah Hall 21:56, 73-Kenzie Nelson 23:19, 85-Rachel Friberg 23:59, 108-Eloise Gitchell 27:31

Pine River-Backus results: 61-Sidney Lodge 22:43, 74-Shayna Moore 23:22, 82-Cheyenne Swenson 23:56, 114-Brianna Adkins 28:59, 116-Laura Oates 29:04