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|Paynesville Press - November 7, 2001|
Jesse Rien just misses all-state honors
Senior Jesse Rien ended his high school cross country career a few strides away from all-state recognition. Rien finished 28th overall in the Class A boys' race on Saturday afternoon. The top 25 finishers get all-state status.|
"All state was my goal. I didn't quite get it, but I ran as fast as I could," said Rien afterward. "So I'm happy."
Rien's strategy was to start towards the front of the pack. The coaches had warned him that passing runners to try to get into the top 25 was an iffy proposition.
Rien followed Cathedral's Max Leither, a conference and section foe of the Bulldogs, for the first loop in the woods (the first 1,600 meters of the race). "I wanted to go out fast," said Rien. "That was my intent the first mile, but the good guys started to pull away from me (after that)."
Rien was in the top 20 for the first mile, but dropped a few spots over the next two miles. Coming out of the 90-degree turn before the 200-meter homestretch, Rien was in a sprint for the coveted last all-state spot, but he was passed by a couple runners and ended in 28th.
"I didn't have anything left at the end," he said. "I tried. I couldn't."
Rein's time of 17:14.7 was nearly six seconds faster than a year ago, when he helped the Bulldogs claim the boys' team title. Last year, Rien placed 44th overall.
"It's not near as fun," Rien said of running at state as an individual instead of with his teammates. "I didn't have any pressure (to do well for the team)," he added, "but it's more fun with the team."
At sections, when Rien learned that he had qualified for state but that the team had not, his first reaction was that he didn't want to go to state alone, said coach Darrel Carstens at the welcome home celebration on Sunday night. "That's what team is," Carstens added.
Rien said he especially missed teammate Dan Pearson during the state meet. "I ran with Dan all year," he explained. "I didn't have him to follow."
Rien qualified for state in only his second year in the sport. He decided to join the team last year as a junior. "I think now I can say it's one of the best decisions I've ever made," he said.
The boys' team likely would have fared quite well at the state meet. St. Cloud Cathedral and Crosby-Ironton, the two teams that beat the Bulldogs boys' team at sections and kept them from state, finished second and fifth respectively.
The Bulldogs beat Montevideo, who finished eighth, twice early in the season, and beat five other state teams at the large Princeton Invitational in late September.
Staples-Motley won the boys' Class A team title this year, their fifth in the past six seasons. Their only blemish at state during this time was when Paynesville took the title a year ago.
Section 5A produced five all-state runners on the boys' side: Sam Anderson (Crosby-Ironton), fourth; Joe Radinovich (C-I), fifth; Zach Solinger (Pierz), 12th; Leither (Cathedral), 15th; and Jeff Laing (Albany), 25th.
The Bulldogs were also very familiar with the top two finishers in the boys' race. The winner was Will Enns of LPGE, a conference opponent. Enns was the medalist at the Koronis Invitational this year and won the West Central Conference North individual title.
The Bulldogs faced runner-up Greg Liebl of Montevideo twice earlier this season.
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