State cross country teams might be hearing that name frequently in future years.
The 14-year-old Pequot Lakes freshman finished fifth in the Section 8, Class 1A meet last week to qualify for state. Pequot coach Jon Dale believes Foster may be the first Patriot boy or girl to qualify for state.
Foster won five meets this season, including the Birch Tree Conference title and the Milaca Mega Meet, where he was first out of 154 runners.
Freshman Clayton Foster may be first Patriot to qualify for state.
"Clayton's athletically inclined," Dale said. "He's coming off a successful track season. As an eighth-grader he was the Subsection 29 champion in the 1600 and he's not too many seconds off the school record.
"He's just a downright good kid. He has a positive attitude, an upbeat personality. He's a good role model for many student athletes in Pequot Lakes."
Foster will be joined at state by the Staples-Motley Cardinal boys' and girls' teams and by six area individuals.
The Cardinal girls, ranked third in 1A, have been bolstered by the recent return of Hannah Landecker, who has been battling anemia. Landecker didn't run at the section and has run briefly all season. She was S-M's top state runner last year, finishing 22nd, and helped the Cardinals place second.
In the last four years the Cardinal girls have finished third, second, first and second at state. They are ranked behind only Adrian and Perham.
"Adrian had five girls (in its section) ahead of our No. 1 girl," Cardinals coach Gene Mattila said. "It's another huge hurdle for our girls to overcome, but that's what life's all about. Our girls think we can beat them.
"We're still of the opinion we're the team to beat. We'll do what we have to do. We're really confident."
The Cardinal boys' team finished 11th at state last season after winning the previous three titles, seven of the previous nine. It will be the Cardinals' 11th straight state appearance.
Cross country running
What: State meet
Where:St. Olaf College, Northfield
Schedule: Class 1A boys, 1 p.m., Class 1A girls, 2 p.m.
S-M's boys were ranked every week for 10 years in a row. That streak ended two weeks ago.
"In all honesty, they're a huge group of overachievers," Mattila said. "We have virtually no talent, and I've told them that 100 million times. They just work and work and work. They refuse to let that beat them.
"We won the section with a 17:38 team average. Three weeks ago we had a 19:02 average. We dropped 1:20 in three weeks. That's truly an amazing feat."
Crosby-Ironton coach Roger Twigg will retire following the meet. He has coached the Rangers for 34 years.
Pierz's Jamie Talberg was one of the Pioneers' top runners a year ago but broke her leg in a freak accident and was sidelined. She qualified this year.
Class 1A boys
Pequot Lakes-Clayton Foster
Crosby-Ironton-McLean Severson, Peter Vukelich
Wadena-Deer Creek-Brook Puskarich
Staples-Motley-Dan Sveom, Joe Fuhrman
Staples-Motley - Dan Sveom, Joe Fuhrman, Charlie Farber, Jordan Bendson, Josh Ulring, Michel Mark, Josh Freese
Class 1A girls
Staples-Motley-Natasha Wenzel, Courtney Robinson, Naomi Landecker, Kaytlin Roth
Staples-Motley - Natasha Wenzel, Courtney Robinson, Naomi Landecker, Kaytlin Roth, Emma Pogreba, Rachel Amiot, Hannah Landecker
Mike Bialka can be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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