BEA’s Strukel headed to State meet
Battling the cold and windy autumn elements, the Blue Earth Area boys and girls cross country teams were all revved for the Section 2A Championship on Oct. 26 at Riverside Town and Country Club. In total, 22 boys teams and 20 girls teams participated in the 5,000 meter extravaganza.
Buccaneer senior cross country specialist Grant Strukel was at his very best despite the conditions. Against the extremely competitive field, Strukel was determined to earn his second consecutive trip to state.
With the rock classic “Eye of the Tiger” blasting in the background, and fans gathered all along the route of the runners, Strukel was focused in on the mission at hand.
The Buccaneer upperclassman clocked in with a time of 16:53; good for sixth place and a trip to the state tournament. While Strukel was the top finisher among the Blue Earth Area participants, there were highlights abound for Bucs cross country for both the boys and girls.
Buccaneer teammate Brady Olsen also enjoyed an excellent performance on Thursday afternoon. Olsen’s time of 18:23 represented a season’s best. Four other Blue Earth Area boys, Jacob Dikken (19:31), Blake Townsend (21:13), Cameron Germain (21:16), and Angel Martinez (21:51), all ended the afternoon with personal bests. Finishing one second behind Martinez was BEA teammate Gunnar Fering.
Not to be outdone, the Blue Earth Area girls also put together some highlights of their own. Four girls including Kaitlin Johnson (22:11), Callie Stevermer (22:15), Melissa Hagedorn (23:00), and Emma Germain (26:22) all set new personal records along the way.
Meanwhile, BEA’s Arianna Nagel (23:12) saved her season’s best for the section championship meet. Amanda Jacobson also represented Blue Earth Area with a finish of 30:17 and improved on her placing from last season.
In addition to their exploits in athletics, both the BEA boys and girls excel in the classroom. The girls earned academic gold with a 3.91 GPA. Meanwhile, the boys earned the same honor with a 3.78 GPA.
United South Central’s Beth Stevermer placed seventh at the Section Meet and also earned a trip to the State Meet the fifth trip to State in her high school career.