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Hinojos, Loer move on to Class A Championships

Wadena-Deer Creek's Bereket Loer pushes towards the finish line during the Section 8A Championships. The junior secured his second consecutive trip to the Class A Championships. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal1 / 2
Wadena-Deer Creek's Lucas Hinojos sprints to the finish line during the Section 8A Championships. Hinojos qualified for his first trip to the Class A Championships. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal. 2 / 2

The Wadena-Deer Creek boys cross country team continues to take the next step. The Wolverines were hoping to secure one of the two qualifying spots for the Class A Championships when they competed at the Section 8A Championships at the Twin Pines Golf Course in Bagley on Oct. 26. While they finished third, they were able to send two runners to state in the form of Lucas Hinojos and Bereket Loer. Last year, the Wolverines finished third and sent just one runner.

Hinojos will be making his first appearance at the Class A Championships, while Loer will be making his second career appearance after finishing 81st in last year’s championships.

Hinojos finished 11th overall. He ended with a time of 17 minutes and 12.8 seconds.

“It felt good. Before the race, I wasn’t feeling the best. I was a little sore, but I don’t know what from because we didn’t go very hard yesterday,” Hinojos said.

Despite the soreness, Hinojos stuck to the usual game plan, which is make his move late. He started picking off runners towards the end of the race and made his move into position for a state spot. Runners from the top two teams advance as well as the next eight individuals.

“It was the same as usual, don’t take it out too fast. I know a lot of people like to take it out quick and die out,” Hinojos said. “I knew if I paced it, I could run a good race.”

Despite being edged out at the line by Pelican Rapids’ David Johnston, Hinojos was in a secure spot to grab one of those eight positions.

“That’s what i usually do and pick up a lot of people usually,” Hinojos said. “I was really dead. There was a guy who beat me by less than half a second and that was disappointing. I should have tried finishing harder, but I went all out.”

Loer said he didn’t run his best race, but he is happy that he qualified for the second straight time. He said that became the goal after qualifying for last year’s Class A Championships.

“It felt good. We were seeded well to do well, but I didn’t run the best race. I still made it, so that’s what counts,” Loer said. “Once you make it the first time, you have to make it for the rest of your career. I did what I had to do.”

Loer said it’s one way to motivate him after making the state meet last year. He said the race didn’t go as he wanted to, but the end goal was to make it to state. He qualified with a time of 17:20.2 for 13th place.

Loer said the goal for next year is to make it as a team. He said they all ran well and hope to build on a pair of back-to-back third place finishes.

“Last year we were third and we were hoping we would make that jump this year,” Loer said. “Now, we are even more motivated to make that jump next year to make it to state.”

Loer said it was tough, but was relieved to get it done with when he crossed the finish line. He said last year’s experience will help him heading into this year’s race.

Perham’s Brandon O’Hara was the overall winner. He finished with a time of 16:17.9 for top honors. He was followed by a pair of teammates in second and third. Clayton Anderson was second at 16:24.2, while Bailey Evenson was third at 16:24.3.

Isaac Ries finished in 33rd place with a time of 18:19.3, while Jayson Young was in 39th at 18:31.3. Joshua Tabery finished in 59th place with a time of 18:55.8. Wyatt Peterson improved his personal best time by more than 30 seconds. He finished his final race with a time of 19:14.5. Eli Bervig rounded out the varsity field for Wadena-DC when he finished 76th at 19:28.7.

Hinojos and Loer will compete at the Class A Championships on Nov. 3 at St. Olaf College in Northfield. The boys championship race is set for 1 p.m.

Section 8A Boys Team Results

Perham 21, East Grand Forks 63, Wadena-Deer Creek 150, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 168, Pequot Lakes 184, Frazee 190, Bagley/Fosston 206, Roseau 210, Crosby-Ironton 226, Nevis 241, Ada-Borup/Norman County 315, Lake Park-Audubon 319, Park Rapids Area 329, Hawley 339, Warroad 361, United North Central 365, Pelican Rapids 422, New York Mills 480, Pine River-Backus 566, Lake of the Woods/Rainy River 578.

Individual Top 10 Results

1 Brandon O'Hara, PER, 16:17.9; 2 Clayton Anderson, PER, 16:24.2; 3 Bailey Evenson, PER, 16:24.3; 4 Tyson Mahar, EGF, 16:28.2; 5 Cole Nowacki, EGF, 16:28.2; 6 Jakob McCleary, PER, 16:52.4; 7 Sakariye Ismail, EGF, 16:53.8; 8 Christian Sterton, A-B/N, 16:57.5; 9 Chase Belka, PER, 17:05.4; 10 David Johnson, PEL, 17:12.3.

Wadena-DC Individual Results

11 Lucas Hinojos, 17:12.8; 13 Bereket Loer, 17:20.2; 33 Isaac Ries, 18:19.3; 39 Jayson Young, 18:31.3; 59 Joshua Tabery, 18:55.8; 66 Wyatt Peterson, 19:14.5; 76 Eli Bervig, 19:28.7.

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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