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Bucs, Rebels tout State reps

By Staff | Nov 13, 2016

Far left, Blue Earth Area’s Grant Strukel sprints from behind.

Blue Earth Area freshman Grant Strukel placed 54th at the State Cross Country Championship last Saturday, Nov. 5, at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

His overall time was clocked at 17:09 in his first-ever state meet competition.

Strukel held out in the 61st position after the first two miles of the race but then pushed at the last minute, which included a very steep hill 150 meters from the finish line, to take 54th place out of 176 competitors.

He is the fifth member of BEA?cross country from Section 2A to place seventh, and only five other runners in ninth grade or below were ahead of him during the race.

Blue Earth Area head coach Tom Plocker said Strukel’s finish compares him favorably with two other ninth-grade BEA legends: Daniel Murray, who placed 52nd in 2002; and Dan Ristau, who finished in 89th in 1999.

Beth Stevermer, above right, runs during State competition.

Meanwhile, after her fourth consecutive year at the state level, Beth Stevermer capped off another productive year with the United South Central cross country team.

Stevermer had previously placed 14th, seventh, and 21st at State and this year, she finished 20th at the state level.

Her finishing time was 19:40.

This year, the State competition took place at St. Olaf College in Northfield. And according to head coach Rita Augustine, St. Olaf’s course was challenging for runners with a significant turn and hill 200 meters from the finish.

“It’s been an interesting year for cross country, courtesy of the weather, but that hasn’t stopped Beth from having a successful season and advancing to State,” said Augustine.

“Beth ran a smart race. As we can expect her to, she gradually moved up her place through the race,” she added.

“Beth works hard to use her talents in and out of practice. As a coaching staff, we’re proud of her four-time All-State title. It is quite an accomplishment. The level of competition is always impressive at the State meet, and it is a great experience for all who attend.”

Augustine says she and Stevermer set a goal to make the top 25 and were very pleased with Stevermer achieving that goal.