It’s a course that Wadena-Deer Creek junior runner Kira Sweeney isn’t a fan of. However, her strong performance during the Section 8A Championships at the Twin Pines Golf Course in Bagley ensured that she would be returning to St. Olaf and the Class A Championships.

Sweeney finished second on Oct. 25 using a more conservative start, which helped her race out to a time of 19 minutes and 27.6 seconds.

“I tried to go with a more conservative start since I’m not a huge fan of this course,” Sweeney said. “It’s a little more difficult. It didn’t work out quite as I wanted to, but it was better than the first time that I ran here this season.”

Sweeney said the conservative start helped her and it was something she learned from the team’s first performance at Bagley during the regular season.

“Definitely the conservative start help since there is a hill right on the start,” Sweeney said. “Most of the hills are in the first mile, so I think it helped and my time wasn’t too far off from where it needed to be.”

Sweeney said there is a relief now that she has qualified for state. Now, she hopes to reach the top 10 at the Class A Championships, something she hasn’t done since she was in eighth grade. She hopes she will be able to break 19 minutes on the tougher course at St. Olaf.

“Just because you are ranked doesn’t mean you can and you never know what is going to happen during a race,” Sweeney said. “State is usually more nerve wracking, it’s definitely a relief. You talk about state all year, but you don’t know until you qualify.”

The Wolverines finished fourth as a team with 114 points, behind Perham, Hawley and United North Central. Perham won the title with 41 points, while Hawley edged out United North Central via the tie-breaker with the sixth runner by one point. Both teams finished with 105 points.

Sweeney said it’s been a great year, and it’s been amazing running with the Wolverines.

“It feels great. This team is really amazing,” Sweeney said. “They have been really open and really supportive. It’s a nice change.”

Nevis’ Jade Rypkema won the individual title with a time of 18:54.9. Perham’s Liz Birkeland was third at 19:48.1, followed by East Grand Fork’s Lydia Floden at 20:07.2. Perham’s Mya Morris rounded out the top five at 20:18.1.

Wadena-Deer Creek’s Amber Collins cracked the top 20 when she finished 17th with a time of 21:06.5. Johanna Brunsberg was 34th at 22:32.5, while Emma Ries came in 39th with a time of 22:51.3.

Ally Pavek finished in 42nd place with a time of 22:57.0, while Macey GOeden came in 45th at 23:02.9. Emma Mehl rounded out the field for the Wolverines. She finished with a time of 24:35.8 for 69th place.

Sweeney will now set her sights on the Class A Championships. She will run on the course at St. Olaf College on Nov. 2 at 1 p.m.

Section 8A Championships

Girls Team Results

Perham 41, Hawley 105, United North Central 105, Wadena-Deer Creek 114, East Grand Forks 121, Warroad 156, Pelican Rapids 167, Nevis 179, Lake Park-Audubon 179, Roseau 231, Ada-Borup/Norman County 280

Individual Top 10

1 Jade Rypkema, Nevis, 18:54.9; 2 Kira Sweeney, WDC, 19:27.6; 3 Liz Birkeland, PER, 19:48.1; 4 Lydia Floden, EGF, 20:07.2; 5 Mya Morris, PER, 20:18.1; 6 Quincy Anderson, PER, 20:29.3; 7 Anjalie Aho, UNC, 20:33.4; 8 Abby Syverson, PLR, 20:34.9; 9 Lelia Johnson, ROS, 20:35.6; 10 Kaia Starzl, PER, 20:39.1.

Wadena-DC Individual Results

2 Kira Sweeney, 19:27.6; 17 Amber Collins, 21:06.5; 34 Johanna Brunsberg, 22:32.5; 39 Emma Ries, 22:51.3; 42 Ally Pavek, 22:57.0; 45 Macey Goeden, 23:02.9; 69 Emma Mehl, 24:35.8.