NORTHFIELD - McLean Severson presented his coach, Roger Twigg, with the most appropriate parting gift:
Twenty-fifth place individually and all-state honors in the Class 1A boys' cross country meet Saturday at St. Olaf College.
In the last race of his high school career the Crosby-Ironton senior attained his lifetime goal in the final meet of his coach's 34-year career.
"It's an honor, honestly it's an honor," Severson said of running for Twigg. "He's been more than a coach to me, he's been like a friend. It was our last race and it was a good one. I'm happy for him. He's the man."
Likewise, Twigg was elated for Severson, who completed the 5,000-meter course in 16:57.6.
"This has been his goal all year, it's been his goal since he started this sport," Twigg said. "I really believe his best days are yet to come. He's still got some physical growing up to do. I'm really, really happy for him.
"You won't find anybody more polite, more courteous than McLean. He's kind of the oldest kid in the family. He takes care of all of his brothers and sisters. He's just a class act."
Crosby-Ironton's McLean Severson closed in on the finish line Saturday at the Class 1A state cross country meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Severson was 25th overall with a time of 16:57.6.
Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
The meet was the last official act as a coach and educator for the 56-year-old Twigg, who said he has no regrets but conceded he will miss certain things.
"But I would like to think my whole identity is not as a coach," Twigg said. "It's going to be different not going to practice for the first time since I've been 12 years old, running myself.
"I've enjoyed this gig. I could coach another 50 years but I can't teach another 50 years, For me, it works if I'm there all day. It's the connections with the kids that are important. I think I would lose that and I realize that."
In team competition, the Staples-Motley Cardinals placed last in the 16-school field. S-M's No. 1 runner Dan Sveom twisted his knee going up a hill and fell twice. Sveom persevered and finished last in the 154-runner field.
"Dan was kind of walking to the finish," Cardinals coach Gene Mattila said. "I've got to give him credit. I asked him, Do you want out?' and he said, Nope, I'm finishing.' That speaks highly of him being a senior. Having to walk through that finish line the last time was tough."
Joe Fuhrman, in 39th place, was the Cardinals' highest finisher.
"Our seventh runner, Jordan Bendson, was our No. 2 runner (Saturday)," Mattila said. "Him, Josh Ulring and Fuhrman ran extremely well.
"I was pleased. It was a tough break (when Sveom fell), yet we probably finished where we belonged. That's sports for you."
1A boys' team scores: 1-St. Cloud Cathedral 75, 2-Rochester Lourdes 99, 3-Warroad 102, 4-Perham 144, 5-Blue Earth 183, 6-Pine City 191, 7-Annandale 197, 8-Adrian 234, 9-Watertown-Mayer 247, 10-Redwood Valley 251, 11-Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 268, 12-Fairmont 269, 13-Minnehaha Academy 271, 14-Lewiston-Altura 295, 15-Eveleth-Gilbert 315, 16-Staples-Motley 334
Individual state champion - Mike Torchia (Rochester Lourdes) 15:28.8 (state-record time)
Staples-Motley individual finishes - 39-Joe Fuhrman 17:07.6, 90-Jordan Bendson 17:49.4, 95-Josh Ulring 17:53.4, 140-Mark Michel 18:48.7, 146-Zach Freese 18:58.3, 149-Charlie Farber 19:10.0, 154-Dan Sveom 21:23.9
Staples-Motley team finish - 21-Furhman, 54-Bendson, 59-Ulring, 97-Michel, 103-Freese, 106-Farber, 111-Sveom
Crosby-Ironton - 25-McLean Severson 16:57.6, 50-Peter Vukelich 17:17.9
Pequot Lakes - 53-Clayton Foster 17:19.0
Pierz - 57-Steven Gall 17:21.3
Wadena-Deer Creek - Brook Puskarich did not finish
Mike Bialka can be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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