You could almost hear the twang and the boing all the way to the Brainerd lakes area as the Staples-Motley Cardinals had their string of four consecutive Class A cross country championships snapped Saturday.
Also ending was the run of two individual state championships by the Cardinals' Jeff Brever.
But there were enough good things that happened in the state meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield to orchestrate another positive outing for area runners.
In the boys' individual competition, Adam Asfeld of Wadena-Deer Creek finished third overall, clocking a time of 16:16 while S-M brought home a third-place finish in team competition.
Wadena-Deer Creek's Kourtney Anderson finished her girls' race in 16:03 to finish in 29th place. Stacy Britz of Pierz ended her stellar career with a 69th-place finish in the Class A girls' competition. Both Anderson and Britz had hoped for a top 25 finish that would have earned them all-state honors.
Brever fell short of three-peating. Running with an injured foot and bruised thigh, Brever was forced to settle for a 14th-place finish.
Asfeld's time of 16:16 put him two places out of the top spot but solidly in the third position. Greg Liebl of Montevideo won the event with a time of 16:04 while Pat Lehmann of Plainview finished second in 16:08.
"Adam was pacing himself on the kid who finished second and they both went out a little fast," said Wadena-Deer Creek coach Terry Olson. "At the 2-mile mark, Adam got a little stitch in his side and was down to sixth place. He spent the next half-mile recovering and then beat three kids in the last half-mile.
"It was important that despite the pain, Adam was able to still pour on the coals and go for it. He was ranked third and that's where he finished. He wasn't happy to finish third but he was satisfied."
In the boys' team competition, Paynesville's 76 points were enough to dethrone S-M which finished with 135. Sandwiched between the two in second place was Plainview with 112 points.
"Paynesville ran a great race," said Staples-Motley coach Gene Mattila. "We would have had to run a darn-near perfect race to beat them. The kids are disappointed but for a lot of teams taking third would have been pretty good. For us, it's a disappointment.
"What really hurts the most for (seniors) Jeff Brever and Ryan Klingaman is that it's over. There is no more cross country for them to run. That hurts a lot more than finishing third. Jeff didn't run as well as he needed to run. Everyone knows what he's capable of but he just couldn't make his legs go.
"The rest of the kids are just going to get ready for next year. We have five real solid kids coming back and we can build a foundation on them. These kids are proud of everything they've accomplished over the past five years and I'm proud of them."
While Anderson and Britz were still out on the course, Jan Hess of Paynesville was crossing the finish line, winning the crown in a time of 14:56. When all the scores were totaled, the girls' team title belonged to New London-Spicer with 81 points.
Pierz coach Ray Zimney considered the race in light of the success Britz has achieved during her career.
"This was the worst race Stacy has run in about four years," said Zimney. "And, it's hard to explain. She ran her best race of the year at the section meet and then had what I thought was a good week of practice. But (Saturday), after the race, she told me that she just didn't have it when it was time to go.
"But, keeping things in perspective and looking at her career, Stacy has to be no less than our No. 2 all-time runner, as far as success goes. This year, she was all-conference, all-district and all-section. Stacy has had one heck of a career."
Terry Olson had mixed feelings about Anderson's performance.
"She started in the second row which is a disadvantage," said Olson. "She still managed to get out pretty good but then she got into a big box of runners and she had to work really hard to get out. Kourtney didn't finish as well as she did last year but she had a harder race. She finished really strong. In the last half-mile of the race, she passed at least eight kids.
"What I found most interesting was that all four Class A state champions, teams and individuals, were from our section. That says a lot for the competition we run against."
As it turned out, the lakes area was well represented by the runners from Wadena-Deer Creek, Pierz and Staples-Motley.
Class A girls' individual results
1. Jen Hess 14:56 Paynesville Area; 2. Sandy Moyer 15:06 Lake City; 3. Liz Palkie 15:08 Wrenshall/Carlton; 4. Angie Mattke 15:08 New London-Spicer; 5. Gabriele Anderson 15:10 Perham
6. Jayna Tangen 15:14 Chatfield; 7. Alissa Anderson 15:16 Minnehaha Academy; 8. Paula Hoffert 15:17 Lewiston-Altura; 9. Kirby Erickson 15:18 New-London Spicer; 10. Nicole Calabrese 15:22 Kingsland; 29- Kourtney Anderson (Wadena-Deer Creek) 16:03, 69- Stacy Britz (Pierz) 16:37.
Class A girls' team results
1- New London-Spicer 81 points, 2- Minnehaha Academy of Minneapolis 128, 3- Visitation, Mendota Heights 136, 4- Jackson County Central 139, 5- Rochester Lourdes 151, 6- St. Cloud Cathedral 153, 7- Sauk Centre 159, 8- Wrenshall/ Carlton 203, 9- East Grand Forks 237, 10- Perham 242, 11- Big Lake 265, 12- Lewiston-Altura 277, 13- Hermantown 293, 14- Murray County Central, Slay 306, 15- Blue Earth Area 329, 16- Madelia/ Truman 359.
Class A boys' individual results
1. Greg Liebl 16:04 Montevideo; 2. Pat Lehmann 16:08 Plainview; 3. Adam Asfeld 16:16 Wadena-Deer Creek; 4. Will Enns 16:21 LongPraire-Grey Eagle; 5. Nathan Hoffman 16:21 Annandale
6. Clayton Long 16:22 Paynesville; 7. Jake Januszewski 16:25 Perham;; 8. Mike Benchina 16:31 Chisholm; 9. Jordan Barnes 16:32 Plainview; 10. Ryan Davis 16:38 Wrenshall/Carlton
Class A boys' team results
1- Paynesville Area 76 points, 2- Plainview 112, 3- Staples-Motley 135, 4- United South Central, Wells 162, 5- Warroad, 6- Glencoe-Silver Lake 184, 7- La Crescent 195, 8- Esko 207, 9- Chisholm 212, 10- St. Cloud Cathedral 214, 11- Canby/ Minneota/ Lincoln 290, 12- Perham 290, 13- Lake Crystal/ Welcome Memorial 291, 14- Pine City 299, 15- Murray County Central 307, 16- Mayer Lutheran 322.
14- Jeff Brever, 30-Jacob Huebsch 17:05, 53- Ryan Klingaman 17:28, 69- David Reichel 17:46, 71- Chad Brever 17:48, 124- Dan Huebsch 19:05.
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