Grace Drietz

On the Bench with Byron Higgin

Drietz 17th at state meet

From the moment Grace Drietz won the first race of the year, until she finished in 17th place out of 174 runners at the state meet on Saturday, she was in control as the leader of her Canby-Minneota team.

Just an eighth grader, Drietz, “Worked so hard all summer,” her Coach Beth Jessen said earlier this year. Still a youngster, Drietz calls things like the state meet, “fun” — and credits her meet as “experience” she knows she’ll need in coming years.

With Anthony Wollum graduating this year as the leader of the C-M team, it’s likely Drietz will take over the leadership role. She’s not the kind of leader who whips people into shape. She shows by example.

Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield, the C-M runner ran a 19:22.6. Compare that to the 17:31.6 run by meet champ Tierney Wolfgram of the Math and Science School and you may not think it looks so good.

But Morgan Gehl of Murray County Central, who finished fifth came in at 18:35.1 and it’s easy to see Drietz was not far behind. Two Luverne runners from Section 3A placed fifth and 15th — Tenley Nelson in fifth at 18:50.9 and Regan Feit 15th at 18:18.4.

While this was Drietz’s first state cross country meet — it’s not likely to be her last. Last spring, Drietz finished eighth in the Class A State Mile out of 16 runners.

The first eight get medals so she became the youngest medalist at the meet. C-M’s freshman runner McKenzie Ruether came in 93rd in 20:43.8. Perham won the meet with Luverne in sixth and Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd in 10th place.

GIRLS TEAM SCORING: 1. Perham 86; 2. Winona Cotter 87; 3. Annandale 131; 4. Stewartville 137; 5. Fairmont 165; 6. Luverne 203; 7. Maple Lake 211; 8. Minnehaha Academy 219; 9. Jordan 238; 10. Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd 257; 11. Belle Plaine 261; 12. Eden Valley-Watkins 265; 13. North Shore 266; 14. Proctor 270; 15. West Central Area 272; 16. United North Central Meha 347.

CANBY-MINNEOTA’s only boy runner was senior Anthony Wollum. A four-time state cross country entrant, Wollum had a rough day and finished 81st out of 176 runners. His time was 17:27.7. The winner was Matt Steiger of LaCrescent in 15:44.8. Lac qui Parle Valley’s Keiser Freetly finished the meet in 16:04.8 in fifth place overall and helped his team to a fourth place finish. Perham won the meet with 118 while Lac qui Parle Valley-Dawson-Boyd had 172.

The other Section 3A school, Mountain Lake Area, finished with 273 in 14th place amongst the 16 teams.

BOYS TEAM SCORING: 1. Perham 118; 2. St. James Area 148; 3. Mankato Loyola/Cleveland 154; 4. Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd 172; 5. North Shore 175; 6. Jordan 184; 7. Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin 195; 8. West Central 220; 9. LaCrescent 223; 10. Staples-Motley 229; 11. Mora 247; 12. Mounds Park Academy 251; 13. Heritage Christian Academy 264; 14. Mountain Lake Area 273; 15. RAACHE 323; 16. Ada-Borup/Norman County 351.

ODDS AND ENDS: •Cold Spring Rocori finished runner-up to Maple Lake in Section 6AA volleyball. They lost after winning the first set, 25-23, but were defeated, 25-19; 25-16 and 25-23. The granddaughter of Vince and Darlene LeGare of Minneota, Abby Anderson, played for Rocori. She’s a senior.

•Marshall, like Minneota, has both their football and volleyball teams into the state tournament. The Marshall girls defeated Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta in five games, winning the final game 15-10. They will play Roseau in the first round of the state tournament on Thursday. The football team will play South St. Paul in Shakopee at 7 p.m. on Friday.

•Minneota senior quarterback Alex Pohlen has 6,856 passing yards and 96 touchdowns during his career.

•Hats off to Russell-Tyler-Ruthton. In their first year in Nine-Man football, they won their section playoffs over Red Rock Central.

Byron Higgin

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