IPSWICH – Their strategies were different, but the end results were the same for a pair of runners at the Lake Region Conference Cross Country Meet on Wednesday afternoon.
Ella Boekelheide of Northwestern won the girls’ race and Hunter Niederbaumer of Faulkton won the boys’ race at Split Rock Country Cub.
Frederick won the girls’ team crown while Northwestern won the boys’ team points.
Boekelheide led from start to finish in her race, knowing full well that Morgan Sumption of Frederick would be lurking in the background.
“I wanted to go out a little bit slower and then just try to maintain my pace,” Boekelheide said, “and then just kick it in at the end.”
Sumption did close the gap near the finish, but Boekelheide still had plenty left in the tank to secure the win.
“I kind of know her strategy. I know that she can really kick it in the last mile, so I was trying to get a little bit of distance between us,” Boekelheide said of Sumption. “I knew that she was starting to inch up on me, so I just wanted to get away from her.”
Just an eighth-grader, Boekelheide defended her LRC crown from last year with a PR of about 90 seconds. She said having the right mindset is helpful when running long distance.
“Even when you think that, ‘Oh, I can’t do this,’ you just have to have that mindset that you have to keep going,” she said. “You have to look ahead to the future and make goals, and try to meet those goals.”
Boekelheide’s brother Derek was a standout runner and helps her prepare for competition.
“Before every race, he tells me my strategy,” she said. “He really helps me keep that mindset and realize what my goals are and that I just need to keep pushing even when it’s hard.”
Meanwhile, Niederbaumer was content to trail Northwestern’s Lincoln Woodring until about half through the race before pulling away.
“With him breaking the wind I thought he would be tired after that,” Niederbaumer said of deciding when to pass his opponent. “I thought I would make my move right on a corner. I got momentum and got a nice lead in front of him.”
Warner’s Dillon Browning finished second in the race.
Niederbaumer is a busy guy in the fall. In addition to running cross country, the senior is a standout member of the Trojans football team.
“It’s difficult. I play both sides of the ball. I don’t get a break ever,” Niederbaumer said. “Last game I didn’t get out once.”
The only thing more difficult occured last fall when poor weather moved a playoff football game to the eve of the state cross country meet.
“Last year’s state meet, we had a region football game the night before and then I ran state the next day,” he said. “It was terrible. I didn’t get a lot of sleep.”
Aberdeen Christian finished fourth in girls’ team points. The Knights were led by Rachel Beaner in third and Grace Steger in fifth. Katie Steger, who has been out with an injury, is expected to be back for the region meet next week.
“We are missing Katie still, but Rachel and Grace had really strong days,” said Christian coach Noah Aderhold. “They looked determined from the start and really ran strong, and pushed themselves the whole way. It was fun to see.”
Beaner finished in a school record time of 20 minutes, 12.39 seconds. The junior was running in a pack of runners before pulling away for a third-place finish.
“I think it was just kind of adrenaline. I really wanted to beat them,” Beaner said. “I kind of knew that I could get the school record. I knew that I was on the pace after the first mile, because my first mile was really fast.”
The record was set last season by Hailey Moeller.
“It’s really cool,” Beaner said of the record, “because Hailey Moeller was a really good runner.”
Aderhold said he could see the determination on Beaner’s face as she began to make her move.
“It takes courage to believe that you can just pull ahead and pace yourself, and kind of take the reins,” he said. “You could see it on her face. She knew what she wanted to do.”
Christian’s Walker Larson finished 10th in the final conference race of his career.
“He ran well. Our conference is strong. The boys that he races against are tough,” Aderhold said. “Top 10 is a great placing for him. He’s had a great career. It’s fun to get out here and run at Ipswich one more time.”
Larson said he enjoyed running on the Split Rock course, which features unique twists and turns including running around a few trees.
“It’s a little crazy, but the course is super fast,” Larson said. “They do a really good job of setting it up. I really like how you only have one pass by the highway. That’s really nice. Other courses double up on each other.”
Christian competes at the Region 1B meet on Wednesday in Webster.
Team Points: Frederick 13, Northwestern 20, Ipswich 25, Aberdeen Christian 28, Warner 42, Faulkton 54.
1, Ella Boekelheide, Northwestern, 19:10.73; 2, Morgan Sumption, Frederick, 19:22.21; 3, Rachel Beaner, Aberdeen Christian, 20:12.39; 4, Laura Sumption, Frederick, 20:36.39; 5, Grace Steger, Aberdeen Christian, 20:51.39; 6, Ashlinn Hartwell, Ipswich, 20:58.03; 7, Sofia Losure, Frederick, 21:06.03; 8, Tara Blachford, Northwestern, 21:08.81; 9, Gracyn Kadlec, Ipswich, 21:18.21; 10, Madisyn Gellhaus, Ipswich, 21:18.21;
11, Jessica Boekelheide, Northwestern, 21:36.81; 12, Addisyn Heinrich, Warner, 21:42.59; 13, Brooke Haaland, Warner, 21:44.31; 14, Gabrielle Wald, Ipswich, 23:12.96; 15, Amelia Currington, Faulkton, 23:22.81; 16, Katelyn Tufte, Ipswich, 23:42.57; 17, Abigail Dunlavy, Warner, 24:20.84; 18, Emma Martinmaas, Faulkton, 26:02.21; 19, Gabby Millard, Frederick, 26:13.92; 20, Shawnteah, La Croix, Aberdeen Christian, 26:35.53;
21, Jessica Hadrick, Faulkton, 27:10.89; 22, Ashlyn Sorenson, Faulkton, 27:53.28; 23, Morgan Demery, Faulkton, 31:14.24.
Team Points: Northwestern 16, Frederick 20, Faulkton 23, Ipswich 39, Warner 43.
1, Hunter Niederbaumer, Faulkton, 17:01.89; 2, Dillon Browning, Warner, 17:14.64; 3, Lincoln Woodring, Northwestern, 17:21.20; 4, Milo Sumption, Frederick, 17:46.44; 5, Johnathan Bretsch, Frederick, 17:51.82; 6, Justin Haven, Northwestern, 17:52.06; 7, Nathan Melius, Northwestern, 18:21.11; 8, Alex Sorenson, Faulkton, 18:27.19; 9, Quintin Fischbach, Northwestern, 18:30.72; 10, Walker Larson, Aberdeen Christian, 18:36.47;
11, Dylan Wald, Ipswich, 18:44.50; 12, Stephen Achen, Frederick, 18:46.61; 13, Taylor Thorson, Ipswich, 18:47.23; 14, Jakob Sumption, Frederick, 18:51.09; 15, Philip Holsing, Faulkton, 18:54.07; 16, Winston Clark, Frederick, 18:54.36; 17, Ethan Boekelheide, Northwestern, 19:05.85; 18, Noah Kippley, Frederick, 19:09.57; 19, Xavier Kadlec, Ipswich, 19:31.48; 20, Ricky Larson, Northwestern, 19:38.48;
21, Jamal Anches Gallego, Northwestern, 19:39.70; 22, Austin Jenkins, Leola, 19:40.80; 23, Levi Little, Frederick, 19:52.04; 24, Kayden Hammond, Faulkton, 19:56.11; 25, Carson Ewalt, Northwestern, 20:05.08; 26, Korbin Stark, Faulkton, 20:13.76; 27, Aaron Blachford, Northwestern, 20:19.22; 28, Austin Kaiser, Faulkton, 20:22.29; 29, Max Quinn, Faulkton, 20:32.06; 30, Josh Thorson, Northwestern, 20:52.80;
31, Sam Groft, Northwestern, 21:44.98; 32, Rylan Evenson, Warner, 22:37.61; 33, Logan Niederbaumer, Faulkton, 22:55.19 34, Paxton Johnson, Warner, 23:06.43; 35, Sean Roseland, Faulkton, 23:49.77.
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