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Tribune photo by Rand Middleton Running in pack that would place five runners from 13th to 24th place propelled Willmar to second-place at the 8AA Meet at River Oaks Golf Club. From left, Nadir Yusuf (16th place), Mowlid Mohamed (13th), Alex Johannes (24th), Thomas Seifert (14th) and Sam Anez (20th).

Willmar boys return to state

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By Rand Middleton

Staff Writer

COLD SPRING -- The Willmar Cardinals set their sights on Sartell and hit the mark.

Packing five runners in the top 24 -- none higher than 13th -- catapulted Willmar back to the Class AA state meet after a one-year absence.

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Willmar finished second behind pre-meet favorite Moorhead which punches the Cardinals' ticket to Northfield for the seventh time in eight years.

The state meet comes up Nov. 5 on the St. Olaf College campus.

The extraordinarily young Willmar girls placed fourth of 16 schools. Three seventh graders and a sophomore made up Willmar's first four runners to the chute at River Oaks Golf Club.

The Monticello girls, ranked 1st in Minnesota and 6th nationally, placed first followed by Alexandria, led by three-time section champion Jamie Piepenburg first again in a sizzling 4k time of 14:04 on a 49-degree afternoon. She is undefeated going to state.

The Willmar boys had finished second 10 points back of the Sabres at the conference meet on Oct. 18.This time Willmar finished 20 points better than the Sabres, 87 to 107.

Senior Mowlid Mohammed finished 13th, Thomas Seifert 14th a stride back, eighth-grader Nadir Yusuf 16th, Sam Anez 20th and Alex Johannes 24th.

Sartell's Tyler Broadwell took second but that was offset by the Sabres fifth runner finished 41st.

Willmar junior Ryan Sawyer, who placed 32nd, explained that the strategy was to send out the team's top 3 just behind Sartell's No. 2 or with their No. 3.

"We were supposed to key off Mo (Mowlid Mohamed)," said Sawyer.

When Willmar's top five all finished in front of Sartell's No. 4, Coach Jerry Popp told his exhausted runners "We've got a shot."

Indeed they did, jumping ahead two places from a fourth place finish at sections a year ago. Willmar's run of seven state trips in eight years includes state championships in 2005 and 2006.

The Willmar girls packed five runners from 21st to 31st place in less than 12 seconds of separation.

Jessa Hanson, Tara Rudie and Sophie Schmitz finished together 21st through 23rd place. Savannah Anez placed 29th and Cassandra Johnson 31st.

Hanson, Schmitz and Anez are seventh-graders competing, of course, in their first section meet.

Johnson, the "senior citizen" in Willmar's top 5 yesterday though she's only a junior, said the rookies gained valuable experience as sixth graders last fall practicing with the varsity and continued to improve by attending running camps this past summer.

"That really helped our team," said Johnson.

Alexandria, which was just outside the Class AA top 12, nudged out No. 9 rated Moorhead for the prized runner-up position. With eighth-grade twin sisters Megan and Bethany Hasz placing third and fourth, Alexandria took three of the top four spots.

Moorhead's Glen Ellingson, winner at the Willmar Invite, was first by 16 seconds in a time of 15:57 on a perfect day for a distance run.

BOYS

Team scoring

(1) Moorhead 52* (2) Willmar 87* (3) Sartell 107 (4) Bemidji 114 (5) Monticello 136 (6) Alexandria 146 (7) Fergus Falls 202 (8) Detroit Lakes 206 (9) Thief River Falls 254 (10) St. Cloud Tech 265 (11) Little Falls 271 (12) Brainerd 291 (13) Rocori 293 (14) St. Cloud Apollo 416 (15) Sauk Rapids 462 (16) Becker 484 .... *Qualify for state meet.

Individual

STATE QUALIFIERS -- (1) Glen Ellingson, Mhd 15:57 (2) Tyler Broadwell, Sar, 16:13 (3) Phil Lavallee, Mon, 16:16 (4) Preston Zimny, LF, 16:17 (5) Sam Carlson, Bem 16:21 (7) Zac Bartolomeo, Alx, 16:27.6 (8) Zach Haus, FF, 16:27.0 (9) Wade Kruger, SCT, 16:28 (10) Will Sieling, Alx, 16:28.1

WILLMAR -- (13) Mowlid Mohamed 16:48.1 (14) Thomas Seifert 16:48.7 (16) Nadir Yusuf 16:53 (20) Sam Anez 17:10 (24) Alex Johannes 17:20 (31) Ryan Sawyer 17:31 (55) Austin Miley 17:59

GIRLS

Team scoring

(1) Monticello 49* (2) Alexandria 85* (3) Moorhead 95 (4) Willmar 126 (5) Brainerd 130 (6) Bemidji 164 (7) Sartell 204 (8) Little Falls 213 (9) Fergus Falls 225 (10) Rocori 260 (11) Detroit Lakes 337 (12) Becker 355 (13) Thief River Falls 359 (14) St. Cloud Apollo 280 (15) St. Cloud Tech 405 (16) Sauk Rapids 470 ... *Qualify for state meet

STATE QUALIFIERS -- (1) Jamie Piepenburg, Alx, 14:04 (2) Jenna Truedson, Bem, 14:24.8 (3) Megan Hasz, Alx, 14:25 (4) Bethany Hasz, Alx, 14:28 (5) Amber Stoieck, Mon, 14:43 .0 (6) Erica Seidenkranz, Mon, 14:44.8 (7) Haylie Zenner, FF, 14:46 (8) Amber Seidenkranz, Mon, 14:46.6 (9) Tyalor Janssen, Mhd, 14:46.8 (10) MacKenzie Dockendorf, Sar, 14:55

WILLMAR -- (21) Jessa Hanson 15:39.3 (22) Tara Rudie 15:40.4 (23) Sophie Schmitz, 15:42.3 (29) Savannah Anez, 15:49 (31) Cassandra Johnson 15:50 (42) Kayla Rudie 16:17 (59) Marin Hanson 16:46

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