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Truedson achieves her goal with 17th-place finish at state

When Jenna Truedson joined her Bemidji cross country teammates for the initial practice session in August she was focusing her workouts toward the state meet.

The Lumberjacks eighth grader thought she had the ability to qualify for state and all of her workouts were endured with the state meet as the ultimate reward.

Last weekend those miles and miles of running paid off as she qualified for the state competition by finishing fifth in the Section 8AA meet in Fergus Falls.

Once that goal was achieved, however, Truedson and her coach Ryan Aylesworth issued a new challenge: placing in the top 25 at Saturday's state meet at St. Olaf and earning All-State honors.

"I didn't know if I would make it to state at the beginning of the year and I didn't know if I could be All-State," Truedson said following Saturday's competition. "But I ran a good race and I'm pretty proud of what I did."

What Truedson did was finish 17th in the 158-runner field with a time of 15:01.1. Not only did Truedson earn All-State honors she accomplished that feat with almost nine seconds to spare.

"Jenna had an excellent race," Aylesworth said. "She went out with the people she knew she could run with and at the end passed some runners by attacking the hill. She ran a great race."

Early in the race Truedson knew she wouldn't be able to maintain the pace of eventual winner Maria Hauger of Shakopee (14:33.1) or runnerup Jamie Piepenburg of Alexandria (14:34.7). So she found her comfort zone and stuck with that group.

"There was the top two runners and behind them was the lead pack. And then there was our group," Truedson said. "I had run with these girls before so I knew what to expect."

With the large crowd offering encouragement, including her brother Erik who was All-State in 2008, Truedson maintained her pace and eventually came to the steep hill near the finish line.

"I took that hill hard and was able to pass two people," Truedson said. "It was a hard race and that last mile was tiring. But I feel good about what I did. I actually ran better than I thought I would.

"And All-State sounds pretty good."

Eden Prairie won the Class AA girls team title with 69 points. Monticello was second with 79.

In the Class A competition, Adrian was the team champion with 89 points. Individually, eighth-grader Marissa Carlson of Bagley-Fosston was 72nd in a time of 16:15.9.

Perham won the Class A boys team title while Byron Schuldt of Nevis earned All-State honors by placing sixth in 16:10.8.

In the Class AA boys team chase, Wayzata won with 61 points and Moorhead was second with 130. Alexandria placed ninth with 218.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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