Detroit Lakes senior Peyton Nordby finished his cross country career at the Class AA state cross country championship placing 126th overall.
Nordby competed at state for the second straight season finishing in a time of 17:08.3 cutting five seconds off his 2018 time.
Nordby ran splits of 5:11.6 out of the start to 1,600 meters. 5:41.3 at 3,200m and a time of 6:15.4 to the finish.
Senior Oliver Paleen of St. Paul Highland Park captured the AA individual title running a time of 15:25.2, winning by just under eight seconds over senior runner-up Nicholas Scheller of Chanhassen (15:30.0).
Mounds View scored 86 points to finish one point in front of runners-up Eden Prairie (87) in a close two-team race for the state team championship. Highland Park, behind Paleen’s win, placed third with 135 points.
Perham makes history with three-peats
The Perham Yellowjackets made history with both teams capturing a third consecutive state team championship.
“It’s just incredible. It’s fun for the kids to experience this together,” Perham head coach Jeff Morris said. “When the girls got done, they were so excited and to have the guys feel that pressure and to come through was pretty amazing.”
Both teams came in ranked No. 1 in the state and the girls set the table with a strong performance across the board. They were led by Class A All-State runners Liz Birkeland and Aspen Rohde. Birkeland finished in 14th place at 19 minutes, 22.5 seconds, while Rohde claimed the last All-State spot with a time of 19:37.5 for 25th place.
The Perham boys accomplished their mission by a narrow margin. Perham finished with 75 points, while West Central Area was on their heels with 83 points. St. James finished in third place, while Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd came in fourth with 182 points and Staples-Motley finished with 184 points.
“The pressure they must have felt in that moment,” Morris said about the boys team before their race. “I realized it was going to be tough. West Central Area is really good. I don’t think people realize it’s hard because sometimes people think we are just always up there. West Central Area is a heck of a team and every time we run against each other, we bring out the best in each other. I knew it was going to be tough.”
Perham had a trio of All-State runners with Jakob McCleary finishing fourth, followed by Brandon O’Hara in eighth and Bailey Evenson in 15th place.
Three other area runners competed individually.
Pelican Rapids seniors Abby Syverson and David Johnston both made their fourth state appearances. Johnston ran 16:51.36 to place 41st overall. Syverson finished her XC career in 84th place (20:31.9).
Frazee’s Nathan Johannsen placed 124th overall with a time of 17:50.62.
Section 8A girls runners-up to Perham, the Hawley Nuggets, finished 13th overall in the team standings led by Lily Olson (20:09.3) in 58th place and Lily Peterson (20:18.5) in 71st. Ivy Tickel (97th - 20:37.3), Piper Myran (125th - 21:20.4) and Kira Thompson (163rd - 22:35.6) rounded out the scoring quintet for the Nuggets.
(Jason Groth, Sports Editor of the Perham Focus, contributed to this story)