The West Central Area boys cross country team finished in fourth place in the season opener at the Brave Like Gabe Invite Saturday, Aug. 28, in Perham. The Knights’ girls finished 10th among schools several times the size of WCA.
“There were schools that were five or six times the size of our school at this meet,” first-year head coach Austin Hanson said. “It’s always fun to race against elite competition. Whenever a school our size can compete with schools that size, we like to take advantage of the opportunity.”
This is also the first somewhat regular meet in two years since COVID-19 caused restrictions with the number of teams that could compete in a single meet in 2020.
“This is the first meet that was larger than three teams, so we have been looking forward to this for a while,” Hanson said. “Being that this is the first race of the year, and the first regular meet in two years due to COVID-19, our squads have much room to grow but I was very impressed with how they all finished.”
The boys finished fourth overall. Kade Runge led the Knights with a fifth-place finish individually with a time of 17:13. Alex Salwasser finished 12th with a 17:32. Also noteworthy, Eli Bergman finished with a 16-second personal best, with a time of 18:59 and Shad Swanson was just 10 seconds from his all-time personal best, Hanson said.
For the Lady Knights, Lexi Bright finished fourth overall with a 20:22. Terina Blasyck was the second finisher across for the Knights, coming in 41st with a time of 22:36.
Noteable youth times include Aaron Biss with an 11th place finish in 13:19 in the boys junior high 3200 meter race and in the girls junior high race, Kyra Beyer clocked a 15:34 for 16th overall in her first-ever cross country race.
“Everyone, including the coaches, were nervously excited for the season to kick off and the runners had a great attitude to finish strong. We feel that with the proper training and without injuries, the group that we have can be very competitive all season long,” Hanson said.
The Knights next race at Breckenridge Thursday, Sept. 2 then compete at the Minnewaska Invite Wednesday, Sept. 8, at the Minnewaska Golf Club in Glenwood.
Brave Like Gabe Invite
BOYS TEAM RESULTS – (1) West Fargo Sheyenn 66 (2) Bemidji 76 (3) Fargo North 99 (4) West Central Area 122 (5) Moorhead 131
WCA VARSITY – (5) Kade Runge 17:13.866, (12) Alex Salwasser 17:32.838, Shad Swanson 17:48.741, Roman Mihalovski 18:54.890, Eli Bergman 18:59.526, Neko Moran 20:48.238, Simon Moritz 25:01.307
GIRLS TEAM RESULTS – (1) Moorhead 61 (2) Fargo North 90 (3) Perham 122 (4) Bemidji 130 (5) Hawley 157… (10) West Central Area 254
WCA VARSITY – (4) Lexi Bright 20:22.19, Terina Blasyck 22:36.86, Victoria Junker 23:48.30, Kennedy Porter 24:10.16, Bl