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Paynesville Press - October 31, 2001

Bulldogs take third, miss return trip to state

By Riley Flanders

Jesse Rien and Dan Pearson The Paynesville boys' cross country team was unable to earn a chance to defend their state title. The Bulldogs took third place, behind St. Cloud Cathedral and Crosby-Ironton, at the Section 5A meet at Becker on Thursday.

Senior Jesse Rien (left) earned an individual trip to the state by placing seventh at the section meet. Teammate Dan Pearson (right) finished ninth.

Cathedral won the meet with a low score of 53, and Crosby-Ironton was right behind with 58. The Bulldogs were 20 points behind Crosby-Ironton at 78.

Only the top two teams advance to state next weekend, meaning the Bulldogs will not be in the 16-team field to defend the state title they won last fall. "It was disappointing not to be able to move on to state, but the team did pretty well after losing five seniors," said coach Darrel Carstens.

Although the team didn't make it to state, senior Jesse Rien qualified as an individual and will compete on St. Olaf College campus Saturday, Nov. 3, at 1 p.m. Rien ran a very tough race in adverse weather conditions. Despite the strong wind and cold temperatures, he covered the course in 17:28 and finished seventh, claiming the last state spot. Only the top seven individuals advance.

Rien took seventh by winning a foot race down the home stretch, edging out a Crosby-Ironton runner and teammate Dan Pearson on the final straightaway.

Rien was Paynesville's fourth runner last year at state, and he helped the Bulldogs win a state title by finishing 44th overall with a time of 17:21. This year, Rien could earn all-state honors.

Pearson earned all-state honors a year ago when the Bulldogs won their team title, but he ran his last high school race at sections, finishing seconds away from another state berth. Pearson said he ran the last lap and a half with a side ache and was caught in the homestretch.

Senior Scott Thompson capped his high school cross country career with his best race ever, finishing 11th in the sectional. Thompson, who recovered from a knee injury earlier in the season, didn't miss a state berth by much either. He ran the five-kilometer course in 17:50.

Senior Jamie Wendlandt also ended his high school cross country career, finishing in 34th place with a time of 19:04.

The remaining members of the team will now have to "wait 'til next year."

Junior Riley Flanders was disappointed with his race, as he finished 25th in 18:36.

Junior Fred Stock continued his steady improvement from race to race during the year. Stock finished a second behind Flanders in 26th.

Junior Tom Flannigan also had a bit of an off day, finishing 32nd in 18:58.

Although it ended with a disappointment, Carstens was happy with the season, saying, "It was a great season. After graduating five seniors nobody expected the team to be as competitive as they were."

Team Scores
1. Cathedral 53
2. Crosby-Ironton 58
3. Paynesville 78
4. Albany 118
5. Hinckley-Finlayson 127
6. Annandale 132
7. Pine City 138
8. Pierz 201

Individual Results
7. Jesse Rien 17:28
9. Dan Pearson 17:32
11. Scott Thompson 17:50
25. Riley Flanders 18:36
26. Fred Stock 18:37
32. Tom Flannigan 18:58
34. Jamie Wendlandt 19:04

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