Paron wins North Shore Cross Country Challenge

Brian Larsen

North Shore Storm (NSS) cross country runner Jake Paron took a commanding lead in the 5k (3.1 miles) race conducted on Pincushion Mountain trail system on Thursday, August 31, then held on to beat a hard-charging Ethan Olson of Moose Lake by five seconds, crossing the line in 16:51.9 to win the boys’ crown.

The day was perfect for running. Like Goldilocks’ preferred porridge, it wasn’t too hot or too cold.

For Paron and Olson, this was a repeat of last year. In 2016 Paron notched the win in 16:56 to Olson’s runner-up finish time of 17:09. At the end of the season, Olson claimed fifth place at state while Jake—dealing with injuries—finished 33rd. As a sophomore, Paron placed 10th at state, but he has battled problems with his knees in both track and cross country. If he stays healthy, he will be a threat to crack the top 10 this year at the state cross country meet.


Right: Taking first place for the second year in a row was Two Harbors senior Jake Paron. Middle: Sidni Hedron placed 6th in the girls’ junior varsity race. Left: Sprinting to the finish line with everything he had left was Andy Kern. Top: Running in third place is North Shore Storm’s Maya McHugh with Louise Ramberg sitting in fifth place. 
Staff photos/Laurie Johnson Right: Taking first place for the second year in a row was Two Harbors senior Jake Paron. Middle: Sidni Hedron placed 6th in the girls’ junior varsity race. Left: Sprinting to the finish line with everything he had left was Andy Kern. Top: Running in third place is North Shore Storm’s Maya McHugh with Louise Ramberg sitting in fifth place. Staff photos/Laurie Johnson Although this was the second fastest time ever recorded on the rugged Pincushion trails, Paron’s time was nowhere near Proctor’s Matt Welch course record of 16:08 set in 2012. Today Welch is on scholarship, running for the University of Minnesota.

Other top NSS runners were Noah Smith, fourth; Will Surbaugh, sixth; Brenden Seipke, 18th; Lei Anderson, 22nd; Cameron Mackey, 31st; JRon Tamanaha, 32nd; Kevin Viren, 39th; JC Holman, 42nd; Andy Kern, 43rd; and Henry DeArruda- Weaver, 66th.

Moose Lake/Willow River Barnum narrowly beat the North Shore Storm 49 to 51 to take the team title. The top five runners’ places from each team are added up to determine the team’s finish.


Running strong, (L-R) Anna Hay, Tristen Surbaugh and Gus Hahn competed in the junior high race at Pincushion on August 26. 
Staff photo/Laurie Johnson Running strong, (L-R) Anna Hay, Tristen Surbaugh and Gus Hahn competed in the junior high race at Pincushion on August 26. Staff photo/Laurie Johnson Duluth East placed third with a score of 61, Lakeview Christian 101, Cromwell-Floodwood 123, Mesabi East 155, and Proctor 163.

Meanwhile, Ava Hill of Mesabi East was running her first cross country race ever, but her inexperience didn’t show. Hill left the field at the gun, running alone the entire way as she took the win in a record-setting 19:18. The former swimmer does have some credentials on the track, as she won the Class A state championship in the 800-meter run in 2:13. If Hill improves at all, it will be tough for anyone to beat her this year, including at the state meet.

Senior Maya McHugh led the Storm runners to a third-place team finish. McHugh finished in 11th place with a time of 21:27. NSS runner Autumn Smith placed 12th; Cedar Gordon, 14th; Louise Ramberg, 17th; Claire LaVigne, 25th; Kate Walsberg, 26th; Malin Anderson, 36th; Chloe Blackburn, 46th; Brooklyn Smith 47th; and Hazel Oberholtzer was 53rd.

Duluth East won the girls’ crown with a score of 31. Proctor was second with 46, NSS 76, Mesabi East 87, Moose Lake/Willow River/Barnum 127.

Simon Long of Duluth East won the boys’ junior high 2.6-kilometer race in 9:39. North Shore Storm finishers were: Chance Hanel, 12th; Jonah Schmidt, 26th; Tristen Surbaugh, 39th; and Gus Hahn, 41st.

Jillian Sajdak of South Ridge won the junior high girls’ 2.6-kilometer race in 11:29. Cece Chmelik led North Shore Storm runners with a fourth place. Lamar Gordon, fifth, followed her; Anna Hay, 14th; Greta Roth, 22nd; Amanda Haveri, 24th; and Kylie Viren placed 31st.

Lakeview Christian runner Jacob Easty won the junior varsity boys’ 4-kilometer race in 15:07. There were no NSS runners entered in this race.

Kyra Heaton of Moose Lake/Willow River/Barnum was the junior varsity girls’ winner in 18:04. Sidni Hendren led NSS runners with a sixth-place finish. Next across the line for the Storm was Saira Smith, 16th; and Amelia Roth, 17th.


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