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Willmar Cardinals girl runner wants a do-over

All-stater Lauren Eilers thought she could do better on a very fine day for Cards, who took 8th in girls and 9th boys race at state

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Willmar's Lauren Eilers nears the finish line, earning All-State honors with a 22nd-place finish at the Class AA state cross-country championship race Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

NORTHFIELD — A 22nd-place finish at state gave Willmar seventh-grader Lauren Eilers all-state honors.

In the Class AA state cross-country championship race, Eilers crossed the finish line at 18 minutes, 46.9 seconds and was the top runner for a Cardinals team that finished eighth in the 16-team field.

It was a fine race for Lauren. But one that she may wish she could redo.

“I felt good about my race. And I had a lot left,” Lauren said. “I was mad about how I had a lot left at the end.”

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Willmar's Lauren Eilers (244) and Nina Dawson (242) lead the Cardinals at the start of the Class AA state cross-country championship race Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

As a team, the Willmar girls had 189 points. Edina won the team championship with 55 points, followed by Wayzata’s 109, St. Michael-Albertville’s 115, Alexandria’s 138 and Stillwater’s 159.

Analee Weaver of Stillwater was the state champion at 17:46.1, beating Wayzata’s Abbey Nechanicky’s 17:52.8.

After Lauren’s time, twin sister Erin Eilers was second on the team at 19:06.2, good for 45th place. Lyndi Koosman (54th; 19:11.6), Kendall Hanson (70th; 19:19.8) and Nina Dawson (95th; 19:38.5) rounded out the team scoring. Also running for the Willmar girls were Addison Hogan (128th; 20:02.9) and Macee Hansen (150th; 20:31.3).

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Willmar's Lyndi Koosman stays in a pack of runners during the Class AA state cross-country championship race Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Also on Saturday, the Cardinal boys finished in the top 10 for the first time since taking sixth in 2015, placing ninth with 214 points. Mounds View edged Eden Prairie by a point to win the team title with 86 points. After Eden Prairie’s 87, St. Paul Highland Park (135), Edina (158) and Prior Lake (160) make up the rest of the top five.

The boys individual champion was St. Paul Highland Park’s Oliver Paleen at 15:25.2. The runner-up was Chanhassen’s Nicholas Scheller at 15:30.0.

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Willmar's Addison Hogan stays to the outside near the halfway point of the Class AA state cross-country championship race Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Fuad Bashir just missed the top 25 all-state cut, placing 28th at 16:10.8. Also contributing to Willmar’s team score were Mason Wendt (36th; 16:16.4), Aden Aden (61st; 16:35.3), Colin O’Farrell (116th; 17:00.3) and Sully Anez (133rd; 17:13.4). Mowlid Mohammed (153rd; 17:27.8) and Fathi Dubet (160th; 17:35.5) also ran for Willmar.

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Willmar's Fuad Bashir runs ahead of Minnetonka's Max Lauerman in the final stretch of the Class AA state cross-country championship race Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Earlier in the week, head cross-country coach Jerry Popp said both teams wanted to finish in the 7-to-10 range, which both squads were able to accomplish.

“We were trying to be realistic. When you go to the state meet, the teams that get on the podium put together almost perfect races, and that’s not easy at this level,” Popp said. “We had good races today, some very good races, and we hit our goal. But we have some kids going home today that think: ‘Oh, I could have done a little better.’ And I like that because they’re competitors and that’s why we came here.

“They’re young; we had three seniors out of 14 kids. They learned a lot today.”

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Willmar's Aden Aden sprints in front of a trio of runners toward the finish line at the Class AA state cross-country championship race Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Class A

In Class A competition, the Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd boys made the top five with a score of 182. Perham won its third consecutive team championship with 75 points, beating West Central Area (83), St. James (154), LQPV/D-B and Staples-Motley (184).

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LQPV/D-B's Zeke Sather stays in step with Springfield/Cedar Mountain's Mitchell Buerkle at the finish of the Class A state cross-country championship race Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin’s Geno Uhrbom won the individual state title with a time of 15:27.6, which was 15 seconds better than the runner-up, Emmet Anderson of Staples-Motley.

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LQPV/D-B's Griffin Johnson runs ahead of Mountain Iron-Buhl's Jeffrey Kayfes in the Class A state cross-country championship race Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

The pack proved to be beneficial for LQPV/D-B as its 51-second spread was best among teams in the top five. Leading the pack was Mike Kvaal at 16:43.9, good for 31st place. Also scoring for LQPV/D-B were Zeke Sather (33rd; 16:44.2), Griffin Johnson (35th; 16:45.8), Payton Sterud (108th; 17:34.8) and Mason Brehmer (113rd, 17:35.7).

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Litchfield's Ben Ammermann runs ahead of Pequot Lakes' Ethan Johnson during the final stretch of the Class A state cross-country championship race Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

The Perham girls also won their third consecutive state championship with 103 points, beating Luverne (138), Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (154), Murray County Central/Fulda (154) and Staples-Motley (171).

MCC/Fulda’s Morgan Gehl was the state champion at 17:53.5, beating runner-up Jade Rypkema of Nevis’ time of 18:20.2.

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Morris/CA's Meredith Carrington keeps pace with a pack of runners during the Class A state cross-country championship race Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Class AA state championship

Boys

Team scoring

(1) Mounds View 86 (2) Eden Prairie 87 (3) St. Paul Highland Park 135 (4) Edina 158 (5) Prior Lake 160 (6) Eastview 166 (7) White Bear Lake 171 (8) Buffalo 210 (9) Willmar 214 (10) Bemidji 232 (11) Forest Lake 249 (12) Farmington 257 (13) Maple Grove 297 (14) Mankato East 335 (15) Rochester Century 344 (16) Cloquet 396

Individual

TOP FIVE — (1) Oliver Paleen, St. Paul Highland Park, 15:25.2 (2) Nicholas Scheller, Chanhassen, 15:29.9 (3) AJ Green, Eastview, 15:31.8 (4) Jake Derouin, Eden Prairie, 15:40.2 (5) Carter Briggs, Winona, 15:40.8
WILLMAR — (28) Fuad Bashir 16:10.7 (36) Mason Wendt 16:16.4 (61) Aden Aden 16:35.3 (116) Colin O’Farrell 17:00.3 (133) Sully Anez 17:13.4 (153) Mowlid Mohammed 17:27.7 (160) Fathi Dubet 17:35.5

Girls

Team scoring

(1) Edina 55 (2) Wayzata 109 (3) St. Michael-Albertville 115 (4) Alexandria 138 (5) Stillwater 159 (6) St. Paul Highland Park 168 (7) Farmington 176 (8) Willmar 189 (9) East Ridge 246 (10) Marshall 265 (11) Forest Lake 275 (12) Rosemount 312 (13) Andover 314 (14) Mounds View 324 (15) Lakeville South 358 (16) Chanhassen 425

Individual

TOP FIVE — (1) Analee Weaver, Stillwater, 17:46.1 (2) Abbey Nechanicky, Wayzata, 17:52.8 (3) Anna Fenske, Farmington, 17:58.5 (4) Ali Weimer, St. Michael-Albertville, 18:00.2 (5) Sydney Drevlow, Hopkins, 18:10.5
WILLMAR — (22) Lauren Eilers 18:46.9 (45) Erin Eilers 19:06.2 (54) Lyndi Koosman 19:11.6 (70) Kendall Hanson 19:19.8 (95) Nina Dawson 19:38.5 (128) Addison Hogan 20:02.9 (150) Macee Hansen 20:31.3

Class A state championship

Boys

Team scoring

(1) Perham 75 (2) West Central Area 83 (3) St. James 154 (4) Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd 182 (5) Staples-Motley 184 (6) Nova Classical Academy 200 (7) Minnehaha Academy 220 (8) Lake City 228 (9) Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin 235 (10) East Grand Forks 239 (11) St. Cloud Cathedral 264 (12) Ely 271 (13) Mankato Loyola/Cleveland 282 (14) Heritage Christian 287 (15) Lewiston-Altura/Rushford-Peterson 321 (16) Redwood Valley 352

Individual

TOP FIVE — (1) Geno Uhrbom, Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin, 15:27.6 (2) Emmet Anderson, Staples-Motley, 15:42.6 (3) Jacob Bright, West Central Area, 15:43.8 (4) Jakob McCleary, Perham, 15:48.7 (5) Hunter Klimek, Staples-Motley, 15:49.7
LQPV/D-B — (31) Mike Kvaal 16:43.9 (33) Zeke Sather 16:44.2 (35) Griffin Johnson 16:45.8 (108) Payton Sterud 17:34.8 (113) Mason Brehmer 17:35.7 (116) Colby Deuth 17:41.3 (130) Kaiden Allpress 17:58.2
LITCHFIELD — (68) Ben Ammermann 17:12.9
MORRIS/CA — (80) Noah Stewart 17:19.8
NEW LONDON-SPICER — (83) Ty Bisek 17:20.7
YELLOW MEDICINE EAST — (175) Bertram Munk 22:11.9

Girls

Team scoring

(1) Perham 103 (2) Luverne 138 (3) Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 154 (4) Murray County Central/Fulda 165 (5) Staples-Motley 171 (6) Lake City 180 (7) Albany 190 (8) Pequot Lakes 197 (9) Stewartville 205 (10) Mesabi East 243 (11) Fairmont 258 (12) Providence Academy 261 (13) Hawley 279 (14) Belle Plaine 280 (15) Blake 312 (16) St. Paul Academy & Summit School 321

Individual

TOP FIVE — (1) Morgan Gehl, Murray County Central/Fulda, 17:53.5 (2) Jade Rypkema, Nevis, 18:20.2 (3) Tenley Nelson, Luverne, 18:27.1 (4) Ava Hill, Mesabi East, 18:38.9 (5) Addison Hoof, Mayer Lutheran/LPWHT, 18:46.8

MORRIS/CA — (120) Meredith Carrington 21:18.9

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The Willmar boys cross-country team runs out of the chute to begin the Class AA state championship race Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Related Topics: WILLMAR CARDINALS
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