Marshall boys capture ninth place Class A
A word of advice to Duluth Marshall cross country coach Scott Kylander-Johnson: Expect the unexpected. Kylander-Johnson spent a relaxing Saturday afternoon watching his boys cross country team compete in the state meet at St. Olaf College -- espe...
A word of advice to Duluth Marshall cross country coach Scott Kylander-Johnson: Expect the unexpected.
Kylander-Johnson spent a relaxing Saturday afternoon watching his boys cross country team compete in the state meet at St. Olaf College -- especially because he hadn't really anticipated being there.
"This was unexpected," he said, as his runners prepared for Saturday's race. "We thought Eveleth-Gilbert was going to be the team to beat, so we ended up sneaking in here. This is very exciting."
Kylander-Johnson was even more excited half an hour later, after finding out his team had finished ninth, ahead of Section 7A champ Mesabi East. Staples-Motley won the boys title, followed by St. Cloud Cathedral and Canby-Minneota-Lincoln.
Will Enns of Long Prairie-Grey Eagle won the Class A individual's title with a time of 16:05.9. Greg Liebl of Montevideo was second, and Jake Januszewski of Perham was third.
"This is the highest we've ever finished at the state meet," said an elated Kylander-Johnson. "We were real happy."
The Hilltoppers were led by speedy senior Henry Lemieux, who finished 22nd overall to earn all-state honors.
"Henry ran a fantastic race today," Kylander-Johnson said. "He made it to the all-state level, so he was really pumped. He just keeps getting better and better. He's been our most consistent runner this year, and he always seems to be at the front of the pack."
Pat Ferguson was 76th, Tyler Kjorstad was 78th, Frank Hedin was 84th, and Andy George was 99th to round out the scoring for the Hilltoppers.
As a team, the Hilltoppers have qualified for the state meet four times in the last eight years, a record of success that Kylander-Johnson is hoping to continue.
"I see us as becoming one of those teams that is always in the hunt at the section meet," he said. "We're not there yet, but we hope to get to that point."
Seniors on this year's team include Lemieux, Ferguson and George. Kjorstad is just a sophomore, Hedin is a junior, and the team's two other state participants, Zach Portilla and Michael Dodd, are just eighth- and ninth-graders, respectively.
"We're so proud of these guys," Kylander-Johnson said. "Coming into the year, we expected to be the third team, but two of our seniors -- Andy George and Pat Ferguson -- knew that they would have to run fantastic races to get us to the state meet. They did that at the section meet, and they did that again today. They carried us."
Mike Sylvester is editor of the Cloquet Pine Knot, a Murphy McGinnis