NORTHFIELD -- Competing in its seventh state meet in eight years, the Bemidji High School boys cross country team finished 10th out of 16 Class AA teams Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield.
Senior Gage Mostad led the way individually as the Lumberjacks logged 232 points to earn the top-10 finish.
“I thought we had a solid day,” BHS head coach Ryan Aylesworth said. “We had some boys that ran their best times of the year today. If you can go to the state meet and compete and run the best time you’ve run all year, that’s something to be very proud of.”
Mostad finished 21st overall with a team-leading time of 16:05.4. Junior Nick Youso crossed the line behind him in 48th with a time of 16:27.8. Both runners posted their best times of the season. A couple of other Bemidji runners came close to achieving season-best times.
“That’s what allowed us to be close to that top half,” Aylesworth said. “We were really close to being in that kind of seven, eight, nine position.”
Following Mostad and Youso were junior Ethan Maish in 93rd (16:52.6), junior Nathan Alto in 113th (16:59.0) and sophomore Isaak McDonald in 138th (17:16.1) to round out the team’s top five. Also competing for Bemidji were sophomores Seth Lindgren and Josef Lalli, who took 170th and 172nd with respective times of 18:02.3 and 18:07.1.
“Overall, it was a solid effort,” Aylesworth said. “I’m very proud of them for being able to race well and compete and get top 10 at the state meet in Class AA in our state with only two classes. It was a very impressive job for them.”
Mostad was the team’s lone senior at state. He concluded his days as a Lumberjacks by finishing as the top-placing BHS runner at every meet this season.
“Gage has been on multiple section rosters and multiple state teams for us,” Aylesworth said. “He’s done a really nice job leading the boys this year in the offseason and during the season. He’s just a great kid to have. We’ll miss him for next year, but we look forward to him getting to hopefully run and pursue stuff off in college.”
The remaining six runners are set to return for a go at another state berth next year.
“We had a good season,” Aylesworth said. “When you go through a season, you have some ups and downs. The kids battled very well. We were competitive at the section meet and competitive at the state meet. It’s just a nice reward for them for all of the work they put it in in the offseason to give themselves a chance to be in that position.”
Mounds View edged Eden Prairie by only one point (86-87) for the Class AA boys team title. St. Paul Highland Park senior Oliver Paleen claimed the individual title by nearly five seconds with his winning time of 15:25.2.
1-Mounds View 86; 2-Eden Prairie 87; 3-St. Paul Highland Park 135; 4-Edina 158; 5-Prior Lake 160; 6-Eastview 166; 7-White Bear Lake 171; 8-Buffalo 210; 9-Willmar 214; 10-Bemidji 232; 11-Forest Lake 249; 12-Farmington 257; 13-Maple Grove 297; 14-Mankato East 335; 15-Rochester Century 344; 16-Cloquet 396.