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Jacks could be in hunt for section success

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BEMIDJI -- An uneducated look at a roster with no seniors would indicate that the Bemidji girls cross country team doesn't possess the experience required to be an upper-echelon team in Section 8-2A.

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Head coach Ryan Aylesworth and his athletes, however, know better.

"I think the girls are going to surprise people," Aylesworth said. "The girls Section 8-2A is very strong but I think a top-five finish is very realistic. And I also believe that we have an outside shot at doing something very special."

Leading the team will be five runners who competed in the 2012 section race and helped BHS place seventh in the 16-team field. And headlining that group is junior Jenna Truedson who, arguably, is the best runner in the section and, without question, is one of the best runners in Minnesota.

"Last year Jenna was sick when she ran the section race but she still finished fourth," Aylesworth said. "Jenna also was fifth at the state and she looks very strong again this fall.

"Jenna is a known quantity. She's the kind of kid a coach and a program does not get very often. And she came into the first practice ready to go."

Also back are juniors Megan Serratore and Amber Smith plus sophomores Morgan Sagedahl and Atomic Thorson.

Serratore placed ninth overall at the 2012 section meet and advanced to the state race. Smith, Sagedahl and Thorson also competed at the section run.

Among the new athletes to the program are two more runners who competed at last fall's state meet. Eighth-grader Sadie Hamrin and sophomore Sara Hamrin attended TrekNorth last year and both represented their school in the state Class A meet a year ago.

Because Sadie is still in middle school and is attending St. Philips, she is eligible this year to run for the Lumberjacks, according to Minnesota High School League transfer rules. Her older sister is a sophomore at BHS, however, and will have to sit out an entire year before regaining her eligibility.

"I think this could be our year to do something special at the section meet but next year we should be even better because we have no seniors," Aylesworth said. "We also have a group of freshmen who show promise. They could help us later this season but it will be tough to crack a varsity lineup that has five returning section runners.

"We know that Jenna is our top runner. Megan and Sadie are quite close to each other and will be in the mix with most of the top runners of the other teams. Our question will be who will make up our fourth, fifth and sixth runners and it will be exciting to see who takes those spots," the coach added.

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Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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