NORTHFIELD — The St. James Area boys cross country team placed third in Class A and six area runners earned all-state honors at the Minnesota State High School League championships on Saturday at St. Olaf College.
Led by Mankato Loyola/Cleveland’s Mitchell Johnstone, who finished 12th in 16:20.3, four boys made Class A all-state with top-25 finishes. The others were St. James’ Seth Pierson, who was 18th in 16:31.3, and Caleb Rivera, who was 21st in 16:33.9, and Tri-City United’s Austin Anthony, who was 24th in 16:36.9.
Waseca’s Ella Dufault was 16th in the Class AA girls race with a time of 18:40.6, and Mankato East’s Jett Oachs was 23rd in the Class AA boys championship in 16:05.8.
The Loyola/Cleveland boys team took 13th in the Class A competition, and the East boys finished 14th in Class AA.
Crusaders coach Dale Compton said his team was shooting for a higher finish after taking 12th a year ago.
“We came in really excited about being here,” he said. “We were ready to go ... but it wasn’t because of lack of effort. They gave it their all.”
Loyola/Cleveland was running as a team at state for the fourth year in a row. Seniors Johnstone, who finished 11th a year ago, and Brett Omtvedt (153rd, 18:39.6) were on all four teams. Jerrett Peterson (76th, 17:16.1) is the other senior on the team.
“We told our seniors they set the standard,” Compton said.
For East, coach Chris Ward said making all-state was the goal for Oachs, a senior running at state for the third straight year. He finished 37th last year.
“He was there twice by himself, but this year, got to be a leader for our team,” Ward said. “Today was probably his second-best time ever. His (personal record) was 15:45 at the conference meet, but this course has some challenges, and add that the pressure of running at state.”
Also for East, Andrew Johnson finished 98th with a time of 16:54.7, Calvin Moeller was 137th (17:16.1), David Wedzina was 157th (17:33.1), Calvin Rykhus was 159th (17:35.4), Alex MacLean was 169th (17:58.8) and Isaiah Anderson was 174th (18:35.2).
“We had absolutely fantastic support from our community,” Ward said.
Oliver Paleen of St. Paul Highland Park was the champion in 15:25.16. Mounds View won the team championship.
In Class A, St. James finished behind Perham and West Central. The Saints, who placed 11th a year ago, were also led by Troy Parulski, who took 30th in 16:43.9. Jackson Miest was 98th (17:29.60), Mauricio Vite was 105th (17:33.5), Marco Crispin was 110th (17:35.3) and Juan Castaneda was 159th (18:58.6).
Also for Loyola/Cleveland, Tyler Erickson was 78th (17:18.5), James Younge was 162nd (19:09.9), Jorden Rossow was 167th (19:28.2) and Nathan Strobel was 172nd (20:23.4).
Blue Earth Area’s Grant Strukel was 56th (17:03.8), and Tri-City United’s Hunter Rutt placed 96th (17:29.1).
Geno Uhrbom of Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin was the champion with a time of 15:27.6.
In the Class A girls race, St. James’ Paola Acevedo finished 37th with a time of 19:51.9. For Waterville-Elysian-Morristown/Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton, Addison Peed was 62nd in 20:13.1 and Lauren Dimler was 110th in 20:55.4. Clare Fischer of Sleepy Eye/Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s was 40th in 19:55.9.
Belle Plaine took 14th in the team competition, led by McKenna Hermann, who was 77th in 20:25.6. The winner was Morgan Gehl of Murray County Central with a time of 17:53.5. Perham won the team title.
Stillwater’s Analee Weaver was the Class AA girls champion in 17:46.1. Edina won the team championship.