With top 50 finishes from Ryan Phillips and Alex Amunrud the Redwood Valley boys cross country team placed seventh overall Saturday morning at the Class A State meet held in Northfield.
The Cardinals finished with 205 team points – just five points out of fourth place as Martin County West (200), Winona Cotter (200) and Esko (201) all barely edged the Cards in the 16 team race.
“It’s tough to look at how close we were to fourth place and not be a little disappointed, but I thought our boys put out a solid effort and left everything out there,” head coach Shawn Cilek said.
Top-ranked Perham dominated its way to the team title, defeating second place St. Cloud Cathedral 37-72.
The junior tandem of Phillips and Amunrud led the way, as Phillips placed 36th overall in a time of 16:46 and Amunrud – who was battling illness – was 46th in a time of 16:55.
“Alex did a great job of gutting it out despite not being 100 percent,” Cilek said. “Ryan and Alex both performed well this year and will be a big key to our success next season.”
Nick VonMosch (17:09) was 70th, Dillon Thooft (17:36) returned to the line-up after missing the Section 3A meet with an ankle injury and finished 110th and Juan Hernandez set a personal best by 15 seconds to place 119th in a time of 17:41.
Wes Peyerl (18:05) was 148th, and Brett Olsen (18:22) finished 154th.
“I told the kids after the race that we should be grateful for the chance to be here and that I was proud of them,” Cilek said. “For me it’s tough, because I keep thinking about what I could’ve done as a coach to put us in a better position to get over that hump and get into the top five.”
Matt Welch of Proctor claimed the individual title holding off Charlie Lawrence of Foley by 12 seconds (15:34-15:46).
Shane Streich of Waseca was third, Nick Golebiowski of St. Cloud Cath-edral was fourth and Section 3A representative Nick Stoks of Canby/Min-neota-Lincoln HI placed ninth.
The Cardinals say goodbye to valuable seniors Thooft, Olsen, Hernan-dez, VonMosch and Derek Bebeau but do have four returning starters in Amunrud, Phillips, Peyerl and Josiah Passe.
“We lose a great group of seniors that will be difficult to replace,” Cilek said. “Those guys have been a big part of our success over the past three years.”
Class A Boys Team Results - Perham 37, St. Cloud Cathedral 72, Waseca 164, MCW 200, Winona Cotter 200, Esko 201, Redwood Valley 205, Minnehaha Academy 211, Plainview/Elgin-Millville 218, The Blake School 227, Proctor 247, Pelican Rapids 253, Albany 260, Mora 303, Park Rapids 365, Luverne 385
Redwood Valley sophomore Kayla Huhnerkoch capped off a memorable season with a strong 11th place showing in the Class A girls race to finish just one spot off the medal stand.
Page 2 of 2 - Huhnerkoch finished the course in 15:01 to earn All-State honors in her second trip to the state meet.
“Kayla did a great job and really left it all out on the course,” Cilek said. “To be just one spot out of the medal stand is tough, but we’ve had some good runners come through during my tenure and Kayla is one of them.”
Huhnerkoch had an outstanding season winning seven races including the Section 3A meet, finishing fourth at the prestigious Milaca Mega Meet and Swain (Duluth) Invitational and placing third at the SWC meet despite battling illness.
The Cardinal girls also say goodbye to seniors Tessa Heiling, Megan Riley and Darion Miller-Ahrens but return Mary Fixsen, Kendra Goblirsch, Nicole Bunting and Taylor Haase.
Clare Flanagan of The Blake School ran a sizzling 14:04 to hold off Emi Trost of Canon Falls by 12 seconds for the girls individual title.
Esko claimed the girls team title with 115 team points followed by Annandale (150), Minnehaha Acad-emy (151), Waseca (157) and Dover/Eyota (184). Adrian led Section 3A with an eighth place finish.