The next race for the Vikings will be the Section 8A meet on Tuesday, October 13 (boys) and Wednesday, October 14 (girls). 

The races will be held in Bagley at the Twin Pines Golf Course.

The Heart O’ Lakes Conference cross country meet had a different look this year when the gun sounded for the start of the race. 

Pandemic restrictions established by the Minnesota State High School League allowed a maximum of 24 runners to be at the starting line for any given race. 

Limited contact with other teams was also strictly enforced. To abide by these rules, the race officials organized the nine teams representing the HOL to be run in shifts. Three teams would arrive at Arvig Park in Perham, have the opportunity to warm up, complete their race, cool down, and then clear out. The same process would be repeated for the remaining teams. 

Junior high races were not allowed this year because of the tight schedule, so all runners were given the opportunity to compete in the varsity race. To compensate for the 24 runner limit, waves were established. Wave one consisted of the top 8 runners from each team. The remaining runners were placed in wave two and started 2 minutes later. 

Normally, the top 15 runners in the boys and girls race are selected to the all-conference team. However, with the crazy format established this year, the runners would have to run their race, wait for all the other races to be completed, and then see if their time would fall within the top fifteen. In other words, running for a fast time was much more important than running for a higher place finish within your race.

Charlie Larson trots to 7th place finish 

The first race of the day was the varsity boys race. Pelican Rapids was paired with Frazee and Breckenridge-Wahpeton. 

It was the first time running against Frazee, but the Vikings had raced against Breckenridge-Wahpeton earlier this season and knew they had one good front runner. Charlie Larson’s race strategy was to let the Breckenridge-Wahpeton runner set the pace. 

The race tactic worked as Charlie crossed the first mile in 5 minutes and 20 seconds – about 20 seconds faster than he normally does. 

The pace slowed just a bit as he crossed the second mile in 11 minutes and 10 seconds. When the finish line was in sight, Charlie made one last surge and finished with a personal best time of 17 minutes and 37 seconds. He did not know until several hours later that his time was the 7th best time of the day. His gritty performance had given him all-conference status. 

Oakley Carlson (36th) crossed the finish line with a personal best time of 20 minutes and 5 seconds. Brody Syverson’s time of 20 minutes and 11 seconds gave him a 40th place finish. Connor Larson (42nd) ran a personal best time of 20 minutes and 12 seconds. Willem Pesch (55th), Sam Moe (56th), and Julian Diaz (60th) were the remaining varsity runners.

Philip Dykhoff placed 23rd in the Junior Varsity division. His time of 21 minutes and 51 seconds was a personal best. Reece Henkes (44th) and Parker Sanchez (45th) also ran in the junior varsity race.

The girls’ varsity had Sylvia Pesch challenging anothezWahpeton runner for the entire race. She crossed the first mile mark in 6 minutes and 36 seconds.

“Photo finish” for top Pelican girls runner Pesch 

The shoulder to shoulder running continued through the second mile with the clock displaying 14 minutes and 14 seconds. The race really began with 200 meters left when the lead between Sylvia and her competitor changed several times. 

The outcome of the race was finally determined by the timer reviewing a photo of the finish. It had been determined that Sylvia’s time was 21 minutes 57.7 seconds and her competitor had a time of 21 minutes and 57.6 seconds. Sylvia finished in 21st place overall. 

Morgan Korf (34th) and Kirra Johnson (35th) finished in 23 minutes and 14 seconds. Hazel Haugrud (44th) had a finishing time of 24 minutes and 12 seconds. Dylan Hoadley (48th) ran her first varsity race and finished with an outstanding time of 24 minutes and 21 seconds. Lily Williams (49th) and Rachael Guler (51st) were the final varsity runners for the Vikings.

Greta Tollefson finished in 31st place in the girls’ junior varsity division. Sadie Funk (34th) ran her first 5K in 26 minutes and 30 seconds. Lizzy Moe (35th), Janae LaFerriere (38th), and Brenna Davis (45th) also scored for the junior varsity team.