Thursday night was a chance for the Detroit Lake cross country teams to show what they're made of against some of the top runners in the state. Despite being shorthanded, boys head coach Bill Kvebak was proud of the way his runners stepped up.
The Detroit Lakes boys took 20th place out of 21 teams. Senior Cole Weber led the Lakers with a time of 19:37.8.
"Cole has been awesome with the team this year," Kvebak said. "Yesterday, he had to pick up some of the senior load as both Casey Parks and Joe Skinner missed the meet due to illness. He has been really solid at the top of the lineup. Our goal is to find a couple of guys to join him."
Weber took on the leadership role in the absence of two varsity runners. He was the only Lake to finish with a sub-20 minute time.
Sophomores Francis Braydon (20:29.08) and Micah Barberg (20:54.8) were the second and third fastest runners for Detroit Lakes.
"Braydon and Micah both had good races yesterday and are steadily improving," Kvebak said. "Next week, they need to be ready to help out Cole at the front and hopefully continue to get better."
Junior Xander Jessen finished with a time of 21:27.8 before freshman Hunter Zehnaker rounded out the top-five Detroit Lakes place finishers with a time of 23:02.5.
"The boys are really young this year, and we need to continue to build and get faster times," Kvebak said. "By the end of the season, I'd like our team to be more competitive in meets and challenge to place in the top half of the section and conference."
Bemidji took first in the boys race with a team score of 93. St. Cloud Cathedra and Minnehaha Academy also finished on the podium. The Lucky Lindy is a unique event where runners clock in fast times against some of the best competition around the state.
"The best part of the Little Falls meet is the speed of the course," Kvebak said. "It's relatively fast, and coming off our home meet the kids really like to see faster times. It's a great confidence builder for our athletes."
Girls take 17th
On Thursday, Julia Steffl continued her impressive season with a 35th-place finish out of 135 runners in the girls varsity race.
The junior continues to lead the Lakers girls in every meet and helped Detroit Lakes earn 17th place out of 19 teams. Steffl finished with a time of 21:36.6.
Freshman Karli Skarie ran the 5000-meter race in 24:21.6 while Lilly Baethke finished in 25:39.5. Junior Kira Wolf (25:39.6) and freshman Jessa Hunt (26:03.5) rounded out the Detroit Lakes top five.
Alexandria finished with the lowest team score of 73. That was good enough to beat out Rocori for first place. Albany sophomore Olivia Goebel ran the fastest time of 18:50.6.