MILACA — The Fergus Falls and West Central Area cross country teams competed at the Milaca Mega Meet Saturday.

Rain was an issue on the day as Otter girls’ head coach Niki Welde stated that the races were combined after a delay and “b y the time the high school teams ran, the route was deep mud in places.”

For the Fergus Falls girls’ team, the Otters finished 19th overall. Emily Nuss led the Otter runners with a time of 21:24.1 for 19th overall. Other runners competing were MaKenna Stenstrom (99th, 24:18.4), Sierra Hatlewick (118th, 25:34.2), Brooklyn Berge (142nd, 28:12.3), Natalie Fransen (149th, 29:42.6), Emma Rund (158th, 31:26.7) and Phoenix Williams (161st, 34:05.4).

For the boys, Joe Eberle led the Otters with a time of 19:38.2 (78th), while teammates Kolsen Papon (108th, 20:18.5) and Mason Olson (144th, 21:34.4) also competed.

“By the time the varsity boys took the course it had been chewed up and spit out by thousands of runners making the conditions quite messy. Joe Eberle, Kolsen Papon and Mason Olson had respectable performances. I thought all of our runners took the course and raced, times were not going to be record-breaking and they went out after their competitors,” Welde said.

For West Central, the boys team won the meet with a score of 67. St. James (87) and Nova Classical Academy (124) rounded out the top three.

Jacob Bright finished in first place in 16:47 followed by Jack Van Kempen (17:36.9) in 10th. Rounding out the team scoring included Kade Runge (11th, 17:37.8), Alex Salwasser (21st, 17:53.8), Kyle Schill (28th, 18:02.2), Reuben Swanson (73rd, 19:10.5) and Shad Swanson (105th, 19:53.9).

“With so many racers, its hard to get a handle on how the team is doing so the idea is to just keep passing as many as you can down the stretch,” Knights head coach John Van Kempen said. “We’ve had some struggles with illnesses so we really needed everyone to run good today.”

The Knight girls finished fifth overall with a team score of 210. Canby-Minneota (159) won the race, while Providence Academy (162) and Mesabi East (194) rounded out the top three.

“That’s a large field and we have three girls with a lot of experience and a few still getting that experience of what’s needed to compete at a high level,” Van Kempen added.

Lexi Bright (21:36.1) led West Central finishing in 14th. Teagan Nelson (23rd, 22:07.7), Brynn Fernholz (40th, 22:52.7), Taylor Bennet (66th, 23:40.4), Alexa Blume 74th (23:56.1) and Brooklyn Runge (168th, 27:28.30) closed out the team scoring.

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