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Yellowjacket pack takes second at Harrier Classic

Perham's Carson Speicher sprints to the finish line during the annual Harrier Classic at Arvig Park. Speicher finished fourth overall in the race, helping the Yellowjackets to a second place finish. Jason Groth/FOCUS

The course at Perham’s Arvig Park is a flat and fast course. That was on full display during the Harrier Classic on Oct. 5 when the Bemidji Lumberjacks and the Perham Yellowjackets battled for top honors in the 25-team field.

The Yellowjackets finished strong as a whole, but were edged out by the Lumberjacks. Bemidji finished with 66 points, while Perham came in second with 92 points.

“We knew we wanted to go out more with the lead pack and be a little more aggressive, going for those fast times and race for spots,” Carson Speicher said. “Overall, our whole mentality for the week and the season is to grit the last mile and grit the last 800. Right when I got done with the race, I watched everyone else finish and consistently for Perham, we were the top finishing guys. We had the best finishes and the best kicks. I think that’s what people expect from us, that we are going to finish with all we got and finish as a team.”

Clayton Anderson

It was a fast and competitive race with Fargo North’s Alex Luz edging Fargo South’s Muqsen Hussein at the line. Luz finished with a time of 16 minutes and 7.30 seconds, while Hussein came in with a time of 16:07.80. West Central’s Jacob Bright finished third with a time of 16:16.05. Speicher was the top Perham finisher when he came in fourth place. He finished with a time of 16:16.05.

“It’s hard to execute races exactly how you want it. We tinkered with what we did know and when we saw it go out hot. When I was with Clayton (Anderson) and Brandon (O’Hara) I said to myself let’s just go run with the front this race,” Speicher said. “I think it turned out really well for all of us. All across the board, everyone PR’d, so no matter what the race plan going in was, when everyone can PR, it goes out the window, you just think of those times and how well the team did altogether.”

The Yellowjackets had two runners in the top 10 and three in the top 20. The pack continues to push each other for the Yellowjackets and it’s something that Speicher said is special.

“They are here for me and I’m here for them. They push me and I push them,” Speicher said.

Clayton Anderson finished sixth with a time of 16:24.34 and was followed by Brandon O’Hara in 18th place. O’Hara ended at 16:56.83.

Brandon O'Hara

Bailey Evenson was the fourth Yellowjacket across the line. He finished with a time of 17:11.30 for 26th place. Chase Belka finished in 38th place with a time of 17:24.05. Jakob McCleary ended in 52nd place, finishing with a time of 17:35.03. Gunnar Anderson rounded out the field with a time of 17:35.44 for 53rd place.

The Yellowjackets return to their home course on Oct. 10 when they defend their Heart O’Lakes Conference crown. The Yellowjackets have won the HOL conference for the past 15 years and hope to make it 16 on a familiar course. The first race begins at 4 p.m., while the varsity boys race is set to begin at 5:30 p.m.

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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