Prep report: Hibbing girls, Rock Ridge boys successfully defend 7AA cross country titles

The only difference at the top of this year's meet is that Rock Ridge's Lexi Lamppa was replaced as individual section champion by her twin sister Maija.

Prep Report.jpg
Prep report

To the untrained eye at Hibbing Golf Course on Thursday, the Section 7AA cross country meet might have looked like a carbon copy of last year, but check those bib numbers.

This year, it was Rock Ridge freshman Maija Lamppa at the top of the charts while 2021 section champion Lexi Lamppa arrived home in sixth.

Otherwise, the top of the results at Thursday's meet was pretty much the same, as the Hibbing girls and Rock Ridge boys successfully defended their team titles and Wolverines senior Cameron Stocke won the boys race by nearly 55 seconds.

Maija Lamppa, who finished third in last year's section meet in Cloquet, was the first to the finish line on Thursday in a time of 19 minutes, 35.2 seconds for the 5 kilometers, just under nine seconds ahead of Hibbing junior Mileena Sullivan. Despite the efforts of the Lamppa sisters (and fourth-place Nora Stark between them), Hibbing used a bloc of runners in ninth and 11th through 14th to eke out a team victory over their Iron Range rivals by four points, 47-51.

Both teams will run again at the state meet Nov. 5 in Northfield, Minnesota, as will the top six runners not on a qualifying team.


That included North Shore junior Olya Wright, who was third, 10 seconds behind Maija Lamppa.

The other five individual qualifiers and their race finishes were: Lizzy Harnell of Proctor (fifth), Eva Johnson of Pine City (seventh), Grace McCormick of Duluth Denfeld (eighth), Lamar Gordon of North Shore (10th) and Carlie Blevins of Proctor (16th).

In the boys race, Stocke cruised to his second individual section title, and with six runners in the top 11, his Wolverines team might have had an even easier time. Behind Stocke's winning time of 15:55.2, Jake Bradach, Casey Aune and Jared Delich swept up positions four through six and Jack Kendall grabbed ninth. Senior Connor Matschiner, whose 11th-place finish was not needed to book his and Rock Ridge's trip to state, was three seconds short of being an individual qualifying finish had he been wearing a different jersey.

Miles Fischer of Cloquet was the individual runner-up in 16:50.1, followed by North Shore's Ian Thorpe.

Grand Rapids made history, advancing to state as a team for the first time since 1967. The Thunderhawks nipped North Shore by a single point, 104-105, despite their highest finisher being 10th place Adrian Hanson-Kaasa.

The other four individual qualifiers from Thursday and their finishes were: Alex Williams of Mora (seventh), Jordan Stumm of North Branch (eighth), Cyrus Myers of North Shore (12th) and Charles Juntunen of Duluth Denfeld (13th).

Cloquet Country Club will not host a section meet for the first time in decades; Superior’s McMeekin among Saturday’s Wisconsin state-meet competitors.

Section 7AAA

Both Duluth East teams finished just out of the team qualifying places at Thursday's section meet in Anoka but will be represented at next weekend's state meet.


In the girls race, the Greyhounds ended up in third place with 76 points while Forest Lake and Centennial both notched 60 to grab the team slots. Forest Lake's Norah Hushagen took the individual title in 17:29.1 and the team tie broke in Forest Lake's favor.

East's best finisher was eighth-grader Sasha Wahman, who was eighth overall and grabbed the fourth of six individual qualifying spots.

The East boys were fourth in a tightly bunched field won by Centennial (63) over Blaine (66). The Greyhounds, who had 81 points, still qualified a train to the state meet, with senior Oliver Miatke, senior Mark Kaczmarczyk and junior Sam Blascyk sweeping up places nine through 11 in the race and the last three spots to qualify as individuals.

The individual champion was Blaine junior River Santiago in 16:02.58, with the East trio ranging from 47-55 seconds behind.


Grand Rapids rules LSC meet

Grand Rapids was a clear winner in Thursday's Lake Superior Conference championship meet at Superior, racking up 511 points ahead of second-place Hibbing (398) and Proctor/Hermantown in third (330).

Thunderhawks seniors Sophia Verke and Hannah Rauzi were one disqualification short of a perfect day. Verke won clear victories in the 100-yard butterfly (1:04.95) and 100 back (1:04.10) and Rauzi had the field covered in the 100 free (56.64) and the 100 breast (1:11.53). The two combined on a two-second win for Grand Rapids in the 200 free relay, but the Thunderhawks were disqualified from the meet-opening 200 medley relay (won by Proctor/Hermantown) to take a 4-for-4 off the table early.

Hibbing senior Geli Stenson ruled the pool in the distance races, taking the 200 free by nearly 3 1/2 seconds in 2:04.08, then winning the 500 free in 5:37.12.

Spartans junior Kylie Peterson grabbed a victory for the home team in the 50 free, touching the wall in 26.49 in the only event of the night in which the Thunderhawks did not place a swimmer in the top five.


The Thunderhawks senior tries to bring a positive attitude to everything she does in the pool.


South Ridge 32, Cromwell-Wright 13

In a rare road win for the early going of the MSHSL football playoffs, third-seeded South Ridge picked up 282 rushing yards and knocked out second-seeded Cromwell-Wright in a Section 5 9-Man semifinal on Thursday night.

The Panthers led from the late first quarter on after Benjamin Pretasky hit the lanky Austin Josephson on a 38-yard touchdown pass, then ran in a conversion for a 14-7 lead after a quarter.

The Panthers got the running game going from there, getting short rushing touchdowns from Austin Bergum, Anthony Lisic and Eli Coon to expand their lead out to 32-7.

Dylan Nyberg had two rushing touchdowns and 164 rushing yards for Cromwell-Wright, which finishes the season 4-4.3-5)

Bergum led South Ridge's ground game with 110 yards on 12 carries.

The Panthers, now 3-5 after an 0-4 start, will face Ogilvie for the Section 5 title on Nov. 4 in Esko.


Northland contingent bows out of state

The road ended without a victory on Thursday for two Northland entries in the state individual tennis tournament.


At the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis, Duluth Marshall's Meredith Boettcher and Danica Mark were knocked out of the Class A doubles tournament 7-5, 6-4 by Lisey Langhus and Katelyn Clements of Providence Academy.

In the AA singles at Baseline Tennis Center, Lydia Delich was eliminated by the same score by Brooklyn Broadwell of Thief River Falls.


Cloquet 3, Duluth Denfeld 0

A 14-kill performance from Ava Carlson ensured safe passage into the Section 7AAA semifinals with a comfortable 25-10, 25-25, 25-13 sweep of Duluth Denfeld on Thursday.

Three other Lumberjacks had five or more kills from some of 39 assists, divided nearly equally between Carly Johnson (20) and Ella Maslowski (19).

Defensively, Lexi Niemi was Cloquet's leader with nine digs and threw in five aces as well.

Hermantown 3, Hibbing 0

Emilie Rish and Elle Jokinen posted nearly identical stat lines of eight kills and nine digs as the Hawks dismissed the Bluejackets from the Section 7AAA tournament. Rish did add four aces.

Hannah Hyjek and Amari Nunez split 27 assists between them.

Hermantown will play at Cloquet on Wednesday in a 7AAA semifinal, while top-seeded Grand Rapids hosts No. 4 North Branch on the other side of the bracket.


Superior, Proctor and Moose Lake/Willow River all received their assignments for their state softball tournaments starting on Thursday.
Cameron Stocke, defending state champion in the 1,600 meters, led Rock Ridge to a section track title on Saturday in Hibbing.
It's a return trip to state for the undefeated Spartans.
In the Section 7A final, Moose Lake/Willow River’s Alexis Hoffman struck out seven batters in a win over Silver Bay to send the Rebels to their second consecutive state tournament.

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