By: Les Knutson
Murray County News Sports
Pulling away steadily as the 5,000-meter race progressed, Murray County Central / Fulda cross country runner Maverick Beckmann earned himself a Red Rock Conference individual gold medal Monday, winning the 45-finisher varsity boys’ event at the Slayton Golf Course.
Beckmann moved ahead of four early-leading runners from team champion Mountain Lake Area / Comfrey and teammate Lukas Stapek as the athletes began their second climb up the long hill along Highway 59. Once in the lead, Beckmann never trailed again as he stretched the distance between himself and the top challengers.
“There were a bunch of us close together early in the race,” said Beckmann, a junior who placed fifth in the conference meet last year as a sophomore. “After I caught Lukas, I surged on the hill and was able to take the lead. I felt great all the way and used the hills as my strong suit, running them aggressively.”
Beckmann’s winning time was 17:45, 19 seconds faster than runner-up Paul Salentiny (18:04) of Heron Lake-Okabena, who — along with his brother Tim (18:05) — had passed the rest of the lead pack, but were not able to catch Maverick.
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