Schmitz places fourth, gains state berth
Emma Schmitz placed fourth in a field of 105 runners last Friday to qualify for her first trip to the Class A state cross country meet.
The lissome freshman became the first WDC harrier to reach state since the 2008 season when Hannah Toedter qualified.
Schmitz ran a time of 16:02.10 to join nine other Section 8A girls in qualifying for Saturday's state meet at the hilly St. Olaf College course in Northfield. The clocking was not Schmitz's best but it was her third straight solid performance.
"I said she would have to run as well as she did in the last two meets and she did," WDC Head Coach Terry Olson said. "She runs really well. She's a pretty even-paced runner."
Schmitz qualified for state in just her third year of cross country. Her time and finish was the best of any freshman in the meet. Park Rapids standout Lydia Lutz took top honors with a 15:23.41 while Warroad's Gretta Brunelle was second with a 15:47.84 and Lake of the Woods' Victoria Alexander took third with a 15:53.73. Perham's Racole Karels was right on Schmitz's heels at the finish line finishing fifth with a 16:02.60. Others in the Top 10 included Roseau's Madeline Huglen with a 16:09.99, Perham's Cassie Beseman with a 16:15.50, Bagley/Fosston's Marissa Carlson with a 16:19.42, Park Rapids' Shelby Pierce with a 16:23.66 and Warroad's Susy Heppner with a 16:26.77.
The Wolverines mounted a full squad for the section meet and placed eighth in the 13-team field with 201 points.Elizabeth Peterson was 39th with an 18:00.29 while Brianna Rosenthal was 42nd with an 18:05.04, Gabrielle Ross was 60th with a 19:23.45 and Sydney Greenwaldt placed 81st with a 20:17.69.
Park Rapids took top team honors by edging Perham 47-50. Both teams advance to state.
WDC senior Neil Janson closed out his prep career with a 24th place showing. Janson ran a time of 18:07.36 over the Twin Pines five-kilometer course as led the Wolverines to an 11th place finish in the 16-team field.
Joey Pate placed 26th with a time of 18:21.16 while WDC harriers Brody Wangsness, Toby Wood and Joseph Najjar turned in times of 19:29.69, 20:20.09 and 23:04.11.
Bryon Schuldt of Nevis led the Top 10 with a time of 16:06.43. Perham's Brady Speicher, Jayden Cullen, Dalton Dahms, Billy Beseman and Nick Carignan finished second, fourth, seventh, eighth and 10th with times of 16:19.32, 16:46.60, 16:59.55, 17:00.08 and 17:11.18. The Yellowjackets dominated team scoring with 26 points while DGF qualified for state with 66 points.
Section 8A Cross County
Perham 26, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 66, Staples-Motley 118, Park Rapids 131, Pequot Lakes 160, HUH 196, Roseau 205, Bagley/Fosston 234, Warroad 239, Pillager 241, Wadena-Deer Creek 266, Trek North 322, United North Central 326, Frazee 369, Pine River-Backus 385, Lake of the Woods 386
Individual winner: Bryon Schuldt (Nevis) 16:06.43
Neil Janson, 24th, 18:07.36
Joey Pate, 26th, 18:21.16
Brody Wangsness, 56th, 19:29.69
Toby Wood, 74th, 20:20.09
Joseph Najar, 110th, 23:04.11
Park Rapids 47, Perham 50, Warroad 89, Pequot Lakes 121, Roseau 161, Staples-Motley 174, United North Central 175, Wadena-Deer Creek 201, Pillager 232, Trek North 255, Pine River-Backus 302, Stephen-Argyle 318, Frazee 329
Individual winner: Lydia Lutz (Park Rapids) 15:23.41
Emma Schmitz, 4th, 16:02.10 (State Quailifier)
Elizabeth Peterson, 39th, 18:00.29
Brianna Rosenthal, 42nd, 18:05.04
Gabrielle Ross, 69th, 19:23.45
Sydney Greenwaldt, 81st, 20:17.69