VIRGINIA — The Grand Rapids High School boys cross country team placed seventh and the girls team was fifth in season-opening action at the Blue Devil Invitational at Virginia on Wednesday.

Mesabi East won the girls team title with 62 points followed in order by Hibbing, 71 and Hermantown, 93. Grand Rapids was seventh with 149.

Ely ran away from the competition in winning the boys team title with 29 points. Virginia was a distant second with 93 while Duluth Denfeld was third with 94. Grand Rapids placed fifth with 115.

In the girls’ race, Ava Hill of Mesabi East took first with a time of 19 minutes and 45 seconds. Addie Peterson of Hermantown was second in 20:31 and Brita Birkeland of Hermantown was third in 21:00.

Alexis Lane was the top Grand Rapids girl as she was 15th in a time of 22:55. She was followed by teammates Sanny Gangi, 21st in 23:29, Jayden Hanson, 39th in 25:15, Samantha Baratto, 41st in 25:16, Morgan Troumbly, 46th in 25:43, Jaide Sondrol, 47th in 26:11, and Alayna King, 48th in 26:11.

Cameron Stocke of Virginia won the boys varsity race in a time of 16:21. Luke Olson of Ely was second in 16:37 and James Schwinghamer of Ely was third in 17:03.

Sam Stertz was the top Grand Rapids runner as he was seventh in a time of 17:35. He was followed by teammates Austin Hanson, 16th in 18:50, Nate Huju, 20th in 19:07, Caleb Rychart, 37th in 20:20, Lucas Berard, 39th in 20:23, Noah Cagle, 46th in 20:47, and Adrian Hanson-Kaasa, 51st in 21:05.

In the girls junior high race, which covered 2,500 meters, Ella Karkala of Grand Rapids was first in 9:42. Charleigh Hartl of Hibbing was second in 10:05 and Gianna Figueroa was third in 10:08,

Other Thunderhawk runners were Ellen Sween, seventh in 10:40; Claire Louis, 11th in 10:53; Madeline Larson, 14th in 10:59, Ella Downing, 16th in 11:19, Baijla Graeber, 17th in 11:20, Emily Walters, 20th in 12:16; Emily Timm, 21st in 12:17, Megan Goodell, 23rd in 12:34, Madelyn Pratto, 30th in 13:49.

Hannah Decko was the top Deer River/Northland (DRN) runner as she was 28th in 13:33.

The Rapids junior high boys team was second to Hibbing. Jonathon Schafbuch of DRN won the 2,500-meter race in 8:25. Brendan Zavada of Duluth Denfeld was second in 8:33 while Carter Bungarden of Hibbing was third in 8:45.

Mason Sovoda was the top Thunderhawk as he was seventh in 9:05. Seth Barton was 11th (9:18), Nick Casper, 14th (9:24), Micah Lane, 15th (9:29), Dylan Stein, 20th (9:41), Jake Endeldinger, 26th (10:02), Zane Phoenix, 51st (11:02), Zach Roy, 53rd (11:05), Sam Barton, 57th (11:25), Larson Curnow, 58th (11:30), Randall Belanger, 63rd (12:35), Micah Sween, 64th (13:32), and Nathan Haley, 67th (15:44).

In the junior varsity boys race, Dylan Fenske of Ely was first in 20:01 on the 5,000 meter course. Eli Rohloff of Rapids was 10th in 21:09, followed by teammates Adam Hampton, 12th (21:11), Blake DuCharme, 13th (21:21), Frank Gangi, 14th (21:35), Jayce Sutherland, 17th (22:01), Joe Louis, 18th (22:04), Sam Reiten, 31st (24:58), Tyler Norgard, 33rd (27:08), and Jack Kelling, 34th (27:51).

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