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Surging to state: Loer becomes first WDC boys runner in 10 years to qualify

Wadena-Deer Creek's Bereket Loer sprints towards the finish line at the Section 8A Cross Country Championships. Loer will be running at the Class A Championships on Nov. 4 at St. Olaf College. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal

With a late push to the finish line, Wadena-Deer Creek’s Bereket Loer grabbed the final spot and qualified for the Class A Cross Country Championships in Northfield, Minn., on Nov. 4.

Loer, a sophomore, used a late surge, holding off one of his teammates, Lucas Hinojos, for the final individual spot at state. Loer finished the race with a time of 18:41.8. Loer becomes the first boys runner to qualify for state since Cory Asfeld qualified in 2006 and 2007.

“It was a tough race because there was a lot of snow,” Loer said. “But, overall I think it went pretty well for our team. We had to go out fast to get good position in the race. Other than that, we treated it like any other race.”

Perennial power Perham captured the boys title, finishing first with 48 points. Ada-Borup/Norman County West came in second with 91 points, capturing a state berth. The Wolverines finished third with 121 points, placing three runners in the top 20.

According to Wadena-DC head coach Michael Brunsberg, Loer is a runner who peaks at the end of the season and excels at both sprints and distances. Loer qualified for state in track and field and was a member of the second place 800-meter relay team.

“We are dealing with a talented runner. He seems to be good with speed and distance,” Wadena-DC head coach Michael Brunsberg said. “We hope to polish that training the best that we can and see where he can arrive. He is a runner that tends to peak pretty heavily at the end of the season. Who knows what he is capable of. He has a lot of exciting potential and we just want to keep it rolling.”

Loer said he had to push it a little bit towards the finish line as he was getting pressured from behind. Loer, who was the No. 2 guy on the team, set the standard for the Wolverines for the second straight year at sections.

“Our No. 1 (Noah Ross) wasn’t feeling too good, but I just had to keep going faster and pushing myself the whole time,” Loer said.

While Loer may be inexperienced at the state cross country meet, he does have experience competing on the big stage. He said the track and field experience should help him with what to expect at a state race.

He said he isn’t worried about his state placement and more about doing his best. His favorite moment from the season was from the Park Region Conference meet when Ross finished first and Loer was second.

Loer is looking forward to running on a strict cross country course. It will be his first time running on a course that is designed specifically for cross country running.

Loer will run at 2 p.m. in the Class A Championships at Northfield, Minn., on the campus of St. Olaf College.

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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