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Benson adds high school cross country

BENSON -- CeCe Terlouw has been lobbying for Benson to have a cross country program almost ever since she was hired by the school district 13 years ago. Her patience paid off as the school board approved Monday to add boys and girls cross country...

BENSON -- CeCe Terlouw has been lobbying for Benson to have a cross country program almost ever since she was hired by the school district 13 years ago. Her patience paid off as the school board approved Monday to add boys and girls cross country to its list of sports the Braves offer for students in grades 7-12.

"I was advocating for cross country one year after I arrived to Benson," said Terlouw, who is a longtime assistant coach for the school's track and field team. "But there wasn't anyone (on the board) supporting it at the time."

Terlouw said 20 kids have expressed interest so far in joining the cross country team. She also said that the school's track program helped bring cross country to Benson.

"I think the board saw the track team grow over the past few years and that was when it was time to push the subject again," said Terlouw, a 1974 graduate of Mounds View High School who went on to run cross country and track at the University of Minnesota. "Now we have the school's backing."

A schedule for the upcoming season is still being worked on by Benson activities director Mike Knutson and the school hasn't been assigned to a section yet; nine of the schools in the West Central Conference are in Section 6A. Melrose is now the only school in the 15-member conference that doesn't have a cross country program.

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Benson and Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg are paired for track and field, but it isn't known yet if the two schools will be together for cross country.

"KMS is an option and I would like to do that, but the board is concerned about transportation," said Terlouw. "KMS would have to supply its students transportation to Benson for practice."

The Tribune will now have 19 -- possibly 20 -- of the 21 schools in its coverage area participating in cross country during the fall.

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