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Cross country teams boast individual stars

The 2010 season promises to deliver some strong individual performances by Wadena-Deer Creek's cross country team.

Junior Neil Janson has been running for the Wolverines since the seventh grade and the junior harrier is now entering a phase where most runners deliver on their promise.

"Neil has improved every year," WDC head coach Terry Olson said. "He definitely has the most speed and talent of all our runners and he works hard."

Olson sees Janson emerging as the team's No. 1 varsity threat.

Freshman Will Eliason has a good chance to be the club's No. 2 man.

"The thing about Will is that he'd just a very efficient runner. His running style is just perfect. He's not afraid to get out there and challenge."

Olson considers senior Zach Bernu and sophomore Joey Pate as two of his hardest-working runners.

Junior Forrest McQuiston is competing in cross country for the second year. A 400 and 800 man in track, McQuiston is still learning the sport.

Two of Olson's younger harriers are eighth-grader Brody Wangsness and seventh-grader Adam Lund. Wangsness has the physical gifts to develop into a good cross country runner. Lund came out for cross country to get into shape for his winter sport, hockey.

Junior Charley Cantrell is taking her first crack at cross country. Cantrell starred for the WDC track team last spring making the team's honor roll in the 400, 800 and 1,600 runs. Her sixth place standing on the WDC track team's all-time list puts her in good company. The top five runners on the honors list were all top-10 finishers in cross country.

"She's really consistent," Olson said. "I think that is really important when it comes to distance running. She's a smart kid who is pretty goal-oriented."

Eighth-grader Emma Schmitz will run junior varsity for the Wolverines early in the season but Olson eventually sees her moving up to the varsity. Schmitz has good endurance.

"She can run at a fast pace for a long, long time," Olson said. "When she gets older and improves her strength it's going to be great."

Olson sees Perham as the complete package once again this year. Both Perham teams are coming off runner-up finishes in the Class A state meet.