The trip to Fargo was a godsend for the Jamestown High School cross-country team.

"With two weeks between WDA and State, it is nice to get an added competition," JHS head cross-country coach Ken Gardner said. "Race distances were reduced from 5K to 4K.

"It was a good last gauge to see where we were at. Our goal now is to reduce the overall volume of our workouts but keep the intensity and that was one of the steps in doing that. We didn't want to go a full two weeks without any competitive running."

The Blue Jays competed at the Andrew Carlson Distance Challenge on Oct. 14, five days after wrapping up the West Regional Invite. The 4-kilometer race allowed the Jays one last chance to hammer out some competitive race tactics prior to competing at the state competition.

The 2021 Class A State Cross-Country Meet is scheduled for Saturday at Jamestown's Parkhurst Recreation Area. The girls' race is slated to begin at 2 p.m. The boys' race will follow at approximately 2:45 p.m.

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Lone senior Cullen Fleith was the Jays' leader in Fargo, placing fourth with a time of 13 minutes, 25 seconds. Seventh grader, Jack Schauer, placed just outside of the top 10. Schauer's 14:22 race placed him 11th out of the 117 competitors. Freshmen Micah Stoudt and Caleb Fabian weren't far behind Schauer, running races of 14:43 and 14:44 to place 17th and 19th. Sam Anteau rounded out the Jays' top 5 crossing the line at 14:45.

"Being as young as we are and not being really deep in the upperclassmen levels, we need some of those freshmen and sophomores to step up and be competitive," Gardner said. "We've had a pretty good history of having some of those runners running some of their best times at the state meet so we are hoping to do that again."

Both the Blue Jay boys and girls teams placed third out of the six competing teams.

At the WDA invite, the Blue Jay girls team was nursing some seasonal sickness and injuries, but Gardner said many of the team members were on the up-and-up at the 4K invite. Gardner said that if his team would have been at 100% at the WDA meet, they could have potentially wound up fifth or sixth in the standings instead of seventh.

A Jamestown High School cross country runner competes at the West Region Meet in Dickinson Oct. 9. Photo courtesy / Matt Mullally, WDA Executive Director.
A Jamestown High School cross country runner competes at the West Region Meet in Dickinson Oct. 9. Photo courtesy / Matt Mullally, WDA Executive Director.

While the Jays will be facing twice as many teams as they did at WDAs, Gardner said if the Jays remain healthy this weekend, he expects his young flock to be able to place in the 12th through 14th range.

In order to prepare his team for the biggest test of the year, Gardner has been working to maintain the intensity of the workouts but reduce the overall training volume.

After the trip to Fargo, the Jays did some speed, recovery work, with the intention of reducing any lactic acid buildup. Saturday brought about a long training run, Monday a recovery workout and Tuesday signaled the team's last hard workout before the final race.

Gardner said the team will also likely do a team run out by the state meet course to re-familiarize themselves with the conditions they will be running in come Saturday.

"We're feeling excited," Gardner said of State. "They started running in June and many of them went to running camp in July, running up in the mountains. They put in a lot of work all season so if we can bring the season to a close with some of their best performances, I think they'll be pretty excited about that."

Andrew Carlson Distance Challenge

Oct. 14

Team results

Boys

1. Fargo North 29, 2. Shanley 60, 3. Jamestown 71, 4. Fargo Davies 76, 5. Fargo South 160, 6. Horace 165.

Girls

1. Fargo North 27, 2. Shanley 59, 3. Jamestown 77, 4. Fargo South 123, 5. Fargo Davies 126, 6. Horace 141.

Top 10 finishers

Boys: 1. Owen Sondag, FN, 12:46; 2. Regan Bosch, FD, 13:06; 3. Gabe Sagvold, FN, 13:15; 4. Cullen Flieth, JHS, 13:25; 5. Drew Rempher, FD, 13:25; 6. Jonathon Asche, SHAN, 13:53; 7. Eli Pederson, FN, 13:59; 8. Braxton Middaugh, FN, 14:09; 9. Andrew Hultin, SHAN, 14:10; 10. Gus Hillmer, FN, 14:11. Girls: 1. Ellie Sondag, FN, 15:31.90; 2. Anna Bernhardt, SHAN, 15:39.90; 3. Layna Hoffer, JHS, 16:18; 4. Brooklyn Herrick, HOR, 16:21; 5. Anna Lien, FN, 16:32; 6. Grace Thiel, FN, 16:32.52; 7. Mya Solberg, FN, 16:34; 8. Samantha Trogstad, FN, 16:35; 9. Brooklyn Nygaard, JHS, 16:42; 10. Leah Hoffman, FN, 16:49.

Blue Jay results

Boys: 4. Cullen Flieth 13:25; 11. Jack Schauer 14:22; 17. Micah Stoudt 14:43; 19. Caleb Fabian 14:44; 21. Sam Anteau 14:45; 22. Ethan Igl 14:58; 30. Gradin Thorlakson 15:26; 34. Austin Andersen 15:31; 35. Raine Job 15:33; 45. Noah Lynch 16:00; 53. Kamden Herzig 16:17; 65. Ryley Smith 16:46; 86. Kaden Fabian 18:15; 88. Brody Wolff 18:22; 91. August Harms 19:02. Girls: 3. Layna Hoffer 16:18; 9. Brooklyn Nygaard 16:42; 23. Emma Flieth 17:34; 27. Madison Rick 17:40; 32. Jera Truax 18:02; 47. Clara Harms 18:35; 53. Maddy Orr 18:49; 54. Kyra Hoffer 18:53; 79. Maddy Tyson 19:31; 92. Jayla Hoffer 20:11; 120. Ella Thomas 22:11.