What a difference a year makes.
Last year Randy Rauch finished his first state Class 1A cross country meet in 87th place. This year Rauch led the area.
The Pierz Pioneers senior finished 10th in the team portion of the Class 1A state meet in a time of 17:04.1 Nov. 6. His individual place of 18th earned him all-state honors.
"It helped quite a bit being down there already," said Rauch. "I went down there and I wasn't as nervous. I just knew how to go out. It helps a lot more if you know what you're doing down there. There's a lot of difference because we brought the team, too."
The Pierz boys finished 13th with a score of 240.
"It was much better having my teammates down there and having somebody to get ready with," said Rauch. "We had a lot of fun this year. Our top five made a pretty decent team but then we had two more guys step up in case anything ever happened."
Rauch finished fifth at the Section 5, Class 1A meet with a time of 17:24. The four-year runner was sixth at the East Subsection 5, Class 1A meet with a time of 17:43. In his final Central Minnesota Conference meet Oct. 14, Rauch finished third in 17:25.
"I guess I placed pretty good during the year," said Rauch. "Finishing third at the conference, fifth at sections and sixth at subsections is pretty good for my last year."
But earning all-state honors was the icing to Rauch's career.
"I was hoping to get in the top 25," he said. "I did better than that. I beat a lot of guys from our section.
"I kind of waited back at first. I went out a little faster than normal because I wanted to be in the front pack. I kept up that pace for the first mile or two and then after the second mile I just started picking it up. I kept running people down one by one. Then I gave it all I had the last half mile."
Rauch, who also runs track and field for the Pioneers, said he's undecided about his future plans. He didn't take up cross country until ninth grade.
"One of my good buddies got me started," said Rauch. "I guess everyone on the team got me going. I was on the track team the year before and I guess they saw my talent."
Other notable performances:
Cross country -- Dan Sveom, Staples-Motley, earned all-state honors by finishing 19th at the Class 1A state meet.
Football -- Christian Even, Pierz, rushed for 234 yards and one score against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton.
Andy Bramer, Verndale, caught four passes for 91 yards and returned a fumble 24 yards for a touchdown against Bertha-Hewitt.
The Staples-Motley offensive line helped the Cardinals rush for 461 yards and collect 521 total yards against Sauk Centre.
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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