After finishing the Section 8A Championships, Wadena-Deer Creek junior Kira Sweeney said it was her goal to finish inside the top 10 at the Class A Championships in St. Olaf. Sweeney used a strong push during the latter portions of the race to accomplish her goal when she finished seventh on Nov. 2 in Northfield, Minn.
“It feels wonderful,” Sweeney said after the race. “I was feeling really good today. My race nerves weren’t as bad as they usually are and my legs didn’t feel tired. I felt pretty good.”
Sweeney last finished inside the top 10 when she was in eighth grade at Staples-Motley. Sweeney finished with a time of 19 minutes and 2.4 seconds, which was ahead of her Section 8A Championship time of 19:27.6.
Sweeney said she wanted to keep pace at the start with Nevis’ Jade Rypkema. Rypkema finished second overall at 18:20.2.
“She usually starts out slow, so I tried to start out with her pace for the first 400 to half mile,” Sweeney said. “I just kind of did my own race after that.”
Murray County Central’s Morgan Gehl finished with a time of 17:53.5 for first place honors. Luverne’s Tenley Nelson was third at 18:27.1, while Mesabi East’s Ava Hill came in fourth at 18:39.9. Mayer Lutheran’s Addison Hoof finished fifth at 18:46.8.
However, Sweeney found herself outside of the top 10 in the latter portions of the race and made her move towards the front pack.
“I made sure to try and surge, and I was able to pass three girls up the last finishing hill,” Sweeney said. “Definitely all the hill training that we have done this year helped with that.”
Sweeney said it felt great and was really happy to achieve her goal of making the top 10 for the first time since 2016.
“It feels pretty good, and I’m happy to achieve it so I can keep working towards the next goal,” Sweeney said of hitting her goal. “It was amazing. All the summer miles and the fall miles coming together at the end.”
Sweeney with her seventh place finish made the podium and is a Class A All-State runner. Sweeney jumped up 31 total spots from last year’s 38th place finish in the Class A Championships. Sweeney is one of four runners from Section 8A to receive Class A All-State honors. Rypkema, Lydia Floden of East Grand Forks, Liz Birkeland and Aspen Rohde of Perham received the honors as well.
Class A Girls Championship
Perham 103, Luverne 138, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 154, Murray County Central 165, Staples-Motley 171, Lake City 180, Albany 190, Pequot Lakes 197, Stewartville 205, Mesabi East 243, Fairmont 258, Providence Academy 261, Hawley 279, Belle Plaine 280, Blake 312, St. Paul Academy and Summit School 321.
Individual Top 10 Results
1 Morgan Gehl, MCC, 17:53.5; 2 Jade Rypkema, Nevis, 18:20.2; 3 Tenley Nelson, Luverne, 18:27.1; 4 Ava Hill, Mesabi East, 18:39.9; 5 Addison Hoof, Mayer Lutheran, 18:46.8; 6 Kyanna Burton, S-M, 18:47.2; 7 Kira Sweeney, WDC, 19:02.4; 8 Calia Chaney, 19:02.6; 9 Madeline Kelly, Providence Academy, 19:03.8; 10 Jacey Majerus, Lake City, 19:05.7.
Wadena-DC Individual Results
7 Kira Sweeney, 19:02.4.