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CROSS COUNTRY: Bemidji braves chilly weather to run section preview at home

Braving the rain and chilly September temperatures, the Bemidji High School cross country teams lined up with Section 8-3A opponents for a home section preview meet at Greenwood Golf Course on Friday.

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Bemidji junior Will Termont charges toward the finish line during the Section 8-3A preview meet on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Greenwood Golf Course
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI – Braving the rain and chilly September temperatures, the Bemidji High School cross country teams lined up with Section 8-3A opponents for a home section preview meet at Greenwood Golf Course on Friday.

“The kids normally never get this meet,” BHS head coach Ryan Aylesworth said of hosting the section preview. “Now we get to compare what we did today to when we come back in October at another home meet, and then 10 days later at the section meet.”

The Lumberjacks ultimately stacked up in the middle of the pack. Both the boys and girls squads placed fourth among eight teams, and a trio of top-five runners repped Bemidji in the process.

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Bemidji senior Brett Kurschner nears the finish line at the Section 8-3A preview meet on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Greenwood Golf Course.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

BHS junior Will Termont could be found at the front of the pack during the boys race, pacing himself with two other runners from Buffalo. Although Termont led the trio during a few stretches of the course, he eventually finished in third place with a time of 16:53.1.

Senior Brett Kurschner wasn’t far behind, finishing fifth with a time of 16:59.0.

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“Will and Brett really stood out today and battled well,” Aylesworth said. “Those two had a really nice finish, and they were the ones who lead the team today. I was proud of that group pushing each other and battling towards the front.”

Ashton Neimi also landed among the top 20 racers for the Lumberjacks, placing 15th in 17:47.6. Next in line for the Jacks were Sidney Kingbird-Haugen (32nd, 18:58.1) and Isaac Schouten (41st, 19:20.8).

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Bemidji senior Ashton Niemi (1209) finishes strong at the Section 8-3A preview meet on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Greenwood Golf Course.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

For the girls, Bemidji junior Mia Hoffmann clocked a fifth-place time of 20:03.6 to lead the pack of Lumberjacks. Next in line for BHS were Regan DeWitt, placing 14th in 20:46.5, and Addison Maish, placing 26th in 21:49.9.

Josey LaValley (29th, 22:15.5) and Aubrey DeWitt (34th, 22:39.2) closed out the team score for Bemidji.

“On the girls side, we had a nice pack that were running together,” Aylesworth said. “They pushed through the middle and worked their way up. That was really great to see.”

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Bemidji junior Mia Hoffmann (32) competes in the Section 8-3A preview meet on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Greenwood Golf Course.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
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Bemidji senior Regan DeWitt (22) passes a runner at the Section 8-3A preview meet on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Greenwood Golf Course.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

With all the distractions that came with a home invite, Aylesworth also stressed the importance of staying focused through the rain and the difficult terrain of the course.

“Staying relaxed and focusing on those moments when the race is tough is really important,” Aylesworth said, referencing what he told the team going into the meet. “Just stay focused on what you’re trying to do and stay focused on being positive.”

The BHS boys tallied 96 points, just shy of second-place St. Michael-Albertville (83) and third-place Moorhead (90). Buffalo won the race with 29 points, which included a 1-2 finish for Andrew Macheel (16:45.2) and Wesley Wistrom (16:48.9) just out in front of Termont.

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For the Bemidji girls, 108 points landed them in fourth behind St. Michael-Albertville (39), Brainerd (49) and Moorhead (94). Cara Back of Rogers won the race in 19:14.0.

The Lumberjacks will return to action at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 20, for an invite in Bagley.

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Bemidji runners, from left, Aubrey DeWitt (20), Josey LaValley (252), Sydney Beise (14) and Addison Maish (422) set a pace at the Section 8-3A preview meet on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Greenwood Golf Course.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

Boys Team Results

1-Buffalo 29; 2-St. Michael-Albertville 83; 3-Moorhead 90; 4-Bemidji 96; 5-Brainerd 102; 6-Sartell-St. Stephen 104; 7-Rogers 179; 8-Elk River 257.

Girls Team Results

1-St. Michael-Albertville 39; 2-Brainerd 49; 3-Moorhead 94; 4-Bemidji 108; 5-Sartell-St. Stephen 152; 6-Rogers 161; 7-Buffalo 163; 8-Elk River 164.

Maggi is a reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer focusing on outdoor and human interest stories. Raised in Aitkin, Minnesota, Maggi is a graduate of Bemidji State University's class of 2022 with a degree in Mass Communication.
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