AREA NOTEBOOK: Hillsboro-Central Valley favored to win fourth straight cross country state title

There may be a bit of nostalgia in Hillsboro-Central Valley's title bid at the North Dakota Class B girls state cross country meet. The top-ranked Burros are favored to win a fourth straight title at the state meet Saturday in Minot. For the firs...

There may be a bit of nostalgia in Hillsboro-Central Valley’s title bid at the North Dakota Class B girls state cross country meet.

The top-ranked Burros are favored to win a fourth straight title at the state meet Saturday in Minot. For the first time in that title run, H-CV has a large number of seniors.

Annika Rotvold, Shayla Fossum and Brooklyn Zink have been key parts of the three titles. The three are East Region nominees for the state’s senior athlete of the year award. Kristin Wright and Katlyn Buethner also are contributors as seniors.

“We’ve had a couple of good seniors the last few years,” H-CV coach Kirk Zink said. “Most of them were more depth kids. This year, it’s a quality group of seniors. They’re some of our top-end kids.

“I think it will be kind of an emotional day. It’s a group of the original kids who were with the program when we started winning state. One of them is my daughter. We won’t fall off a cliff next year. We have quality kids coming back. But from a talent and experience standpoint, it will be a different situation.”


Before next season is another title run for a Burros team that hasn’t lost to a Class B opponent this season.

With Rotvold, Fossum, freshman Gracie Wright and seventh-grader Reagan Baesler, H-CV has four runners ranked in the top 10 in the state coaches’ poll. There is depth to go with them.

“As far as odds, this team probably would have the best odds going in to win state,” Kirk Zink said. “We have a lot of top-end kids. With high school kids, you never know. If one or two have a rough day, we could be in trouble. But if we compete the way we have the last few months, we’ll be OK.”

Zink ranks Cailee Peterson of Mayville-Portland-CG as the individual favorite. “She’s looking really good. She’s so consistent,” Zink said. But several runners could push Peterson, including the Burros’ top four.

In the B boys race, Zink said New Town is a heavy favorite. Hillsboro-CV won the East Region boys title. “But it’s different at state. We’re young. We don’t have anybody now who will score in single digits at state. You need that.”

The top area runners in the B boys meet figure to be Nick Pedersen of Hatton-Northwood-Thompson and Josh Thompson of Grafton, Zink said.

Rematches set

The semifinals of the Minnesota Section 8 football playoffs Saturday will include a number of rematches with area teams. They include:


  • In 8A, Fertile-Beltrami is at top seed and two-time defending state champion Mahnomen. On Oct. 2, Mahnomen beat the Falcons 42-0.
  • In 8A, Lake Park-Audubon is at Fosston. On Oct. 10, the Greyhounds edged LP-A 7-6.
  • In Section 8 9-man, defending section champion Kittson County Central is at No. 1 seed Stephen-Argyle. On Oct. 14, Stephen-Argyle’s defense sparked the Storm in a 13-6 win.

“I don’t know if it is good or bad, or if it matters,” Stephen-Argyle coach Ethan Marquis said of a rematch. “Both sides think they can adjust and find something different. But I don’t expect a lot of changes.
“They’ve had success with what they’ve been doing. With our side, it’s the same thing. It’s the time of the year when teams look at what they do best and fall back on that.”

Warren-Alvarado-Oslo coach Tony Gullikson would prefer a rematch game. The Ponies host Win-E-Mac in a 9-man Section 8 semifinal game Saturday. It will be the first meeting of the season between the teams.

“We prefer that familiarity of having played a team already,” Gullikson said. “You can adjust from what you saw. We adjust our defenses a lot from game to game. After you’ve seen a team and picked up on tendencies, you can make those adjustments.”

Crowded at the top

Perham is the favorite to win both the boys and girls titles Friday at the Section 8A cross country meet in Bagley. As far as individual favorites in the girls division, the list is crowded.

Marissa Carlson of Bagley-Fosston is ranked 11th in the latest Class A state coaches’ poll. Roseau’s Ellie Nelson was ranked earlier this season. Madeline Huglen of Roseau and Lydia Kantonen of Park Rapids also figure to be in the mix.

“It’s going to be interesting who gets that top spot,” Roseau coach Ken Hayden said. “That race is a tossup. When you’re talented, anything can happen. And all four of those girls are talented.

“Typically, there are probably one or two kids you can look at as favorites, who have won all the meets. There aren’t usually three or four girls like this. All four of them have won meets racing against each other.”


The top two teams qualify for the state meet, as well as the top eight finishers who are not on advancing teams.

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