Sweeney, Anderson make state CC meet
Kira Sweeney finished second in the section girls race and Emmet Anderson was fifth in the boys race, qualifying both Staples-Motley runners for the state cross-country meet.
The girls team placed fifth, thanks to Taylor Yungbauer finishing her cross country career with a great race, right behind Addison Lorber and Ameara Chenoweth.
The boys finished seventh, and could have been in the top four but Hunter Klimek, who had been the team’s second runner much of the year, dropped out due to asthma problems. Ben Bartczak ran his best race to finish 20th.
Both state qualifiers had their fastest times of the year and accomplished a season-long goal.
“I was confident, I ran against most of the runners during the season,” said Sweeney.
She ended up running much of the race by herself, as the state’s second ranked runner took off ahead of her. “It was a faster pace than a normal race,” she said.
Sweeney pulled away from the pursuit pack in the first mile, and spent the rest of the race wondering how close they were getting to her. “I could hear people shouting behind me, and could see them when I went around the corners,” she said. But she maintained her lead and finished nine seconds in front of the third place finisher.
Realizing she had made it to state for the first time, Sweeney said “I was pretty excited, it felt good.”
Anderson said going into the race he was more nervous for the team than for himself. “(Coach) Bruce (Fuhrman) said I would get to state but I wanted the team to get there too,” he said.
He started out with the front pack and battled back and forth with a few of the runners before having a sprint to the finish line against the fourth place finisher. “It was painful, like every other meet,” said Anderson. “I was scared on that last sprint.”
But running 16:44 made it worthwhile. “I expected to go fast in this race, and it feels good to get to state,” said Anderson.
Both runners would like to improve their times at the state meet. Anderson said his state goal is to break 17 minutes again, with the ultimate goal to get around 16:30. Sweeney also thinks she can run faster at state, maybe break 19 minutes and finish in the top ten. She is currently ranked sixth in the state.
Coach Bruce Fuhrman said “Kira is peaking at the right time this season. Her competitive edge is shaping our entire program of young athletes and this impact will be seen in the seasons to come. She has not only worked hard in the physical training, but also in the mental preparation needed to have success in this sport. I am proud of her growth and season accomplishments.”
Fuhrman also commented on Anderson: ”Emmet is one of those ordinary kids who accomplishes extraordinary things. He is a competitor and can build up a substantial lead on an opponent. He is a unique athlete in what he has accomplished as an 8th grader.”
“I look for both team representatives to have a great showing in the state meet, and leave a mark to set goals for next season,” said Fuhrman.
The state meet will be Saturday, Nov. 5, at St. Olaf College in Northfield. The boys run at 10 a.m. and the girls start at 11 a.m.
Section 6A meet
West Central 87, New London-Spicer 105, Albany 130, Holdingford 178, Melrose 178, Breckenridge-Wahpeton 183, Staples-Motley 190, Morris/Chokio-Alberta 229, Benson-Kerkhoven-Murdoch 241, Ottertail Central 266, Litchfield 276, Pierz 314, Royalton 316, Paynesville 331, Osakis 358, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 425, Eden Valley-Watkins 430, St. John’s Prep 451, Sauk Centre 472, Pillager 58-, Wheaton-Herman-Norcross 654
5. Emmet Anderson 16:44, 20. Ben Bartczak 17:40, 35. Tanner Robben 18:08, 67. Jack Tyrrell 18:42, 70. Coleman Klimek 18:48, 71. Brayden Christensen 18:49
Eden Valley-Watkins 75, West Central 76, Albany 92, Morris/Chokio-Alberta 160, Staples-Motley 171, Osakis 183, New London-Spicer 229, Ottertail Central 259, Paynesville 266, Sauk Centre 16, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 295, Melrose 298, Holdingford 305, Breckenridge-Wahpeton 349, Litchfield 416, Pierz 420, St. John’s Prep 421, Royalton 450, Benson-Kerkhoven-Murdoch 508, Wheaton-Herman-Norcross 530, Pillager 595
2. Kira Sweeney 19:18; 24. Addison Lorber 20:36, 36. Ameara Chenoweth 21:12, 39. Taylor Yungbauer 21:22, 71. Kaitlyn Smith 22:44, 72. Natalie Kleiberova 22:44, 89. Mackenzie Wilds 23:26