By PATRICK SLACK
Running with one of its top runners just returning after a lengthy injury layoff and another out completely, the Little Falls boys still managed to take fifth place in the Section 8AA meet at Detroit Lakes, Oct. 24.
Seniors Mathew Massmann (17:35.2) and Cameron Smith (17:39.7) finished back-to-back in 17th and 18th place, respectively, with eighth-grader Hunter Zupko (17:44.8) taking 22nd.
Senior Daniel Mushel (18:17.6) and junior Josh Kapsner (18:21.3) also scored, with freshman Tyler Moore (18:55.0) returning from an extended injury absence to round out the lineup.
Senior Sebastian Sowada, the third-place individual for the Granite Ridge Conference team champion Flyers, was out of the lineup for the meet.
Seniors on this year’s roster included Adam Fellbaum, Alex Fellbaum, Smith, Mushel, Jacob Freitag, John Gottwalt, Massmann and Sowada.
In the girls race, Little Falls bunched all seven of its runners less than half a minute apart to finish 10th as a team.
Eighth-grader Sophia Sowada was the leader for the Flyers with a 49th-place time of 16:52.8, followed by sophomore Amelia Kresha (17:01.7), junior Heidi Moe (17:01.8), freshman Kendal Hendrickson (17:04.6) and eighth-graders Catherine Zack (17:08.5), Annika Bjorge (17:09.0) and Anna McNamara (17:18.9).
The Flyers were also this year’s Granite Ridge Conference runner-up.
Seniors on this year’s roster included Vanessa Meschke, Laura Moe and Mallory Kenna.
“Several of our seniors suffered injury setbacks this year,” Little Falls girls head coach Jacki DeVine said. “We looked into the team as a whole and saw potential in the eighth-grade runners. Three of the younger girls logged over 250 miles this summer and one was playing a lot of soccer. They came into the season strong.”
Four different runners spent time as the Flyers’ No. 1 finisher this season.
“Next year we should have a very talented team with more experience and strong leadership by the older girls,” DeVine said.