HAWLEY, Minn. — A small, but very good field of teams greeted the Breckenridge-Wahpeton Storm cross country teams in Hawley Thursday, Oct. 7. Between the hills, the wind and solid competition, the Storm had their work cut out for them. The girls placed third of six teams and the boys finished fourth of six.
Aidan Ruddy, 18:55, and Luke Baumgartner, 19:14, ran very well to place fourth and fifth, respectively. Ruddy and Baumgartner held back in the first mile, which was on the flat part of the course, and saved some energy for the final two, hilly miles to move up more than 10 places in the standings.
Jaxon Hill also ran a smart race on the hills to finish as the Storm’s third runner in 18th place with a time of 20:35. Bryce Awender, 20:57, finished 22nd, running his best race of the season to slide into the Storm’s fourth spot. Seventh grader Troy Berndt, made his varsity debut to finish as the team’s fifth runner in 29th place with a time of 21:37. Berndt did a great job and Jonathon Hill, who finished right behind him at 21:45, was a solid teammate pushing the pace.
The Lady Storm were led by Kierra Wiertzema, 22:34, who finished a solid 11th in a good field of girls runners. Aubrey Boesen, 23:11, and Rachel Gowin, 23:36, placed 14th and 16th, respectively to crack the top 20. Wiertzema narrowly missed the top 10 with a great finishing kick and Boesen ran more aggressively on the first mile to solidify her position.
Adi Dodge, 24:50, and Jazmyn Benedict, 25:30, rounded out the scoring in 24th and 25th place, respectively. Hats off to Gowin for leading Wiertzema, Boesen, Dodge and Benedict. Being a senior, Gowin sets a good example for the four junior high girls who run with her. She shows them how to be competitive and handle the challenges of race day. She leads by example.
Next week the Storm hosts the Heart O’ Lakes Conference meet Tuesday, Oct. 12 on the Bois De’ Sioux Golf Course in Breckenridge-Wahpeton. Racing begins at 4 p.m. on the Minnesota side of the course. The HOL cross country conference is arguably the best in the state, so there will be some great racing at this meet.