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CROSS COUNTRY: Mia Hoffman places 1st as Bemidji opens new season

Mia Hoffman opened her sophomore season with a first-place time of 19:43.4. She beat out 111 others and topped the rest of the field by nearly nine seconds.

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Bemidji Lumberjacks

PERHAM -- With over 650 runners as proof, the Bemidji High School cross country teams ran into some normalcy on Saturday.

The Lumberjacks kicked off their season with more than 600 others at the Brave Like Gabe Invitational in Perham, the first time since 2019 that the teams have raced under conditions not influenced by COVID-19 restrictions. The boys placed second out of 17 teams, and the girls took fourth of 16.

“It was so great to have a full field again and not be limited to the three-team meets we had last year,” BHS head coach Ryan Aylesworth said. “(We) had a regular cross country meet with lots of kids, lots of fans. It was a lot of fun.”

Mia Hoffman made the most of the opportunity, opening her sophomore season with a first-place time of 19:43.4. She beat out 111 others and topped the rest of the field by nearly nine seconds.

“The whole team has been working really hard,” Aylesworth said. “Mia was running with a pack of other girls and was able to pull away at the last mile.”

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Hoffman wasn’t alone near the front of the race. Teammate Regan DeWitt was no slouch herself, finishing eighth with a time of 20:48.9. Elsewhere for Bemidji, Josie LaValley took 24th at 21:26.2, Addison Maish was 48th in 22:43.89 and Aubrey DeWitt was 49th in 22:46.0 to round out the team score.

“I thought they did a very nice job,” Aylesworth said of the girls. “It’s always good to get the first race done, kind of get the rust off a little bit and get a little bit of confidence back. They haven’t raced a 5k in quite a while. So to get that out of the way is a good building block.”

On the boys side, Carson Maish finished in 17:14.2 to place sixth among all individuals. Bryce Kondos (17:30.5) and Ashton Niemi (17:38.1) were close behind in 11th and 15th, respectively. Isaak McDonald (21st, 17:59.2) and Brooks Matetich (24th, 18:08.5) closed out the team score.

“They were aggressive,” Aylesworth said of the boys. “They started smart but were aggressive during the race and were willing to go after and race people. … Overall, they had a very nice first meet of the season, both the boys and the girls.”

The Moorhead girls captured the team title with 61 points, ahead of Fargo North (90), Perham (122) and Bemidji (130).

West Fargo Sheyenne won the boys crown with a team score of 66. The BHS boys tallied 76, while Fargo North’s 99 rounded out the top three. Sheyenne’s Aiden Johnson claimed medalist honors with a first-place time of 16:09.1.

The Jacks will return to the course at 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13, for the STMA Invite in St. Michael.

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Boys Team Results

1-West Fargo Sheyenne 66; 2-Bemidji 76; 3-Fargo North 99; 4-West Central Area 122; 5-Moorhead 131; 6-Pequot Lakes 183; 7-Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 213; 8-Perham 225; 9-Little Falls 234; 10-Lake Park-Audubon 270; 11-Otter Tail Central 301; 12-Hawley 332; 13-Pelican Rapids 338; 14-Wadena-Deer Creek 341; 15-Frazee 369; 16-Fargo South 406; 17-Bagley-Fosston 488.

Girls Team Results

1-Moorhead 61; 2-Fargo North 90; 3-Perham 122; 4-Bemidji 130; 5-Hawley 157; 6-West Fargo Sheyenne 197; 7-Pequot Lakes 221; 8-Wadena-Deer Creek 248; 9-Fargo South 251; 10-West Central Area 254; 11-Little Falls 261; 12-Lake Park-Audubon 282; 13-Otter Tail Central 284; 14-United North Central 304; 15-Pelican Rapids 386; 16-Frazee 449.

Related Topics: BEMIDJI LUMBERJACKS
Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
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