Margaret Stokman wants to dictate her own pace.
Lately it’s been a pretty fast one.
The Crosby-Ironton cross country runner came into her fourth varsity season with the goal of running her race and not leaving anything behind.
Stokman had no regrets Oct. 3 when she won the Ranger Invite at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge in Deerwood. She topped Brainerd’s Ali Crochet by .01
“(Assistant coach Roger) Twigg just told me to watch Ali Crochet and just stay with her for as much of the race as I could,” said Stokman “But I felt good so I stayed up there and won.”
Stokman won the event in 16:04. During last year’s race, she ran a 16:34 to finish third behind individual winner Allison Kosobud of Brainerd and Crochet.
Earlier this season, Stokman won the Pequot Lakes Invite at Emily Greens in 16:26.
She opened the season with a ninth-place time of 16:28.7 at the Run for Your Melon event in Baxter. There she finished behind Brainerd’s Sarah Yeh and Crochet.
“The first meet of the year you kind of forget what it’s like to race,” Stokman said. “You’re just getting back into that feeling of running hard, but this year I just feel mentally a lot stronger this season, especially at the beginning. Toward the middle of the year you’re more confident about your training. This year I was confident right away.”
Stokman’s goal this season is to run a 15:50.
She’s come back a lot stronger this year,” said Ranger head coach Erica Perpich. “You can tell she has that year under her belt and it’s built her into the runner she has become this year. She’s really dedicated and real determined.
“She’s dropped her time a great deal. Her goal is to get under 16 minutes. Each meet she’s getting closer and closer to that.”
Last season, Stokman advanced to her second state meet, but first as an individual, after finishing sixth in the Section 7-1A meet. Her state time of 16:00.1 placed her 79th.
She placed third in last year’s Mid-State Conference meet with a time of 15:55.
“Last year’s state meet was a learning experience for her,” Perpich said. “It was new for her going as an individual. It was definitely a learning experience for her and now where she’s able to make it again, she knows how to approach the race and better position herself within the pack and run to her best potential.”
Stokman admitted last year’s state meet was an eye opener, but it wasn’t a waste. She learned from it and hopes to get back and improve.
“The state meet I didn’t have a great race,” Stokman said. “I didn’t feel like I really raced. It’s so new and so much and so big it’s easy to get sucked into all of that. I ran a lot more this summer. It wasn’t more miles, but just more consistently just to keep running.”
Other notable performances:
Soccer: Katie Yorek, Little Falls, finished with a goal and three assists against Hillcrest.
Swimming: Kali Klimek, Staples-Motley, won the 50- and 500-yard freestyles and was part of two winning relays against Fosston.
Jaelin Beachy, Staples-Motley, won the 100-yard freestyle and backstroke and was part of two winning relays against Fosston.
Makyla Klever, Little Falls, won the 50- and 100-yard freestyles and was part of two winning relays against Albany.
Volleyball: Kendra Pohlman, Little Falls, finished with 20 set assists, 15 kills and 15 digs against Pequot Lakes.
Casey Volkmann, Wadena-Deer Creek, finished with 11 kills, 10 digs and 10 ace serves against Staples-Motley.
Jordyn Glenz, Verndale, finished with 45 kills and 33 digs in the Bertha-Hewitt tournament.
Hallie Schmidt, Crosby-Ironton, finished with 27 kills, 22 digs and five ace serves at the Mora tournament.