BEMIDJI -- It was podium finishes all around Tuesday evening for the Bemidji High School cross country team at its home Bemidji Invitational.
The Lumberjack boys and girls each placed second in the team standings, while BHS individuals also finished in the top three of their respective races at a chilly Greenwood Golf Course. Freshman Regan DeWitt clocked a time of 19:52.0 to finish runner-up in the girls race, while senior Gage Mostad took third in the boys race with a time of 16:22.9.
“I’m proud of the kids’ effort on our home course,” BHS head coach Ryan Aylesworth said. “It was fun to be out there in front of their friends and family. I was very impressed with the way some of the kids that have been battling some stuff right now competed. They went out and did an excellent job.”
The Bemidji girls posted 58 points to take second, trailing first-place Perham by 17. Moorhead’s Taylor Melton finished nearly a full minute ahead of the rest of the field with her first-place time of 19:00.5.
Grace Carlton joined DeWitt in the top five by taking fifth with a mark of 20:11.5. She was followed by Josie LaValley (20:44.2, 13th), Addison Maish (21:08.5, 20th) and Mia Hoffman (21:17.3, 23rd) to round out the Bemidji’s top five. Also competing was Kayla DeWitt, who finished 30th (21:51.6).
“I thought (the girls) took a step forward,” Aylesworth said. “They did a nice job getting second here.”
Temperatures that dropped to around 40 degrees didn’t faze the Jacks.
“We all dressed actually really nice for the cold this year,” Regan DeWitt said. “We really pushed each other and worked together as a team. We were fighters today and I’m really proud of our team.”
On the boys side, the Jacks recorded 49 points to finish 10 back of meet winner Perham. The Yellowjackets also secured the individual title as Jakob McCleary claimed first with a time of 16:16.8.
“We kind of sat back in a pack-type form because a group of kids from (East Grand Forks) went out a little hotter than us,” Mostad said. “Once we got going through the race, we worked our way past them.”
Nicholas Youso (16:49.6, seventh) and Nathan Alto (17:05.6, 10th) also cracked the top 10 along with Mostad. The trio was followed by Ethan Maish (17:05.8, 12th) and Isaak McDonald (17:24.4, 17th) to comprise the Jacks’ top five. Josef Lalli (17:41.4, 22nd) and Seth Lindgren (18:04.9, 28th) rounded out the team’s finishers.
“On our guys side, it was a great battle,” Aylesworth said. “We had some boys running well. … It allowed us to get second against a pretty solid field.”
Aylesworth was satisfied to see his teams go neck-and-neck with Perham, the No. 1 team in Class A for both boys and girls cross country.
“They got us today, but we were competitive with them,” Aylesworth said. “And that’s just going to make us better for the end of the year at sections.”
The Section 8AA meet is next on the docket for Bemidji. The Jacks will head to River Oaks Golf Course in Cold Spring at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24.
“Our goals are to focus and really have the kids get themselves ready mentally,” Aylesworth said of the section meet. “Prepare, be healthy, do the little things right between now and then, show up and just compete to the best of our ability.”
Next year it will be Bemidji’s turn to host the Section 8AA meet. Tuesday’s race was run with an altered course compared to years past, which garnered praise from coaches and runners.
“I liked the new course a lot better than the old course,” Regan DeWitt said. “I thought it flowed nicely.”
“We made some changes and I got a lot of positive feedback that the course changes made for a better meet overall,” Aylesworth said. “And I think it was even an improvement for spectators being able to watch the kids multiple times.”
Boys Team Results
1-Perham 39; 2-Bemidji 49; 3-Moorhead 79; 4-East Grand Forks 114; 5-Detroit Lakes 133; 6-Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 181; 7-Bagley/Fosston 211; 8-Thief River Falls 215; 9-Roseau 269; 10-Hawley 276; 11-Pelican Rapids 303; 12-Ada-Borup/Norman Co. 331; 13-Red Lake Co. 337; 14-Warroad 374; 15-Cass Lake-Bena 463.
Bagley/Fosston Boys Results
25-Boysen Olson 17:50; 32-Grant Hemberger 18:25; 36-Liam Hagen 18:33; 60-Cullen Norland 19:42; 65-Gavin Halverson 19:54; 72-Logan Hemberger 20:12; 90-Robbie Olson 21:42.
Cass Lake-Bena Boys Results
83-Jordan Howard 20:57.0; 94-Gage Dunn 22:10.5; 95-Nikolai Olson 22:11.0; 102-Zeno Wittner 25:45.4; 103-Scott Whitebird 32:03.6.
Girls Team Results
1-Perham 41; 2-Bemidji 58; 3-Moorhead 67; 4-Hawley 97; 5-East Grand Forks 119; 6-Pelican Rapids 126; 7-Warroad 185; 8-Ada-Borup/Norman Co. 216.
Bagley/Fosston Girls Results
33-Jenna Manecke 22:05.7.
Cass Lake-Bena Girls Results
65-Lanie Jacobs-Wind 31:00.0; 66-Amira LaDuke 31:12.5.