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Chester’s Emery Larson goes back-to-back in ‘B’ girls cross country

Tim Tushla
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Emery Larson is a state cross-country champion for the second straight year. The Chester sophomore finished first in the ‘B’ girls race on Saturday afternoon at Yankton Trails Park in Sioux Falls with a time of 18:21.47.

It was a sizeable win for Larson as she finished ahead of second place Ella Boekelheide of Northwestern by about 36-seconds.

“It feels so great to be a defending champ,” Larson stated. “This whole week, me and my parents have just, honestly been kind of nervous, but so excited, so ready for this day to come.”

Larson mentioned that her strategy coming into this year’s state meet was different than that of her freshman year.

“I just wanted to start out relaxed, because I knew that if I went out so fast… I went out pretty fast last year, and I couldn’t contain it the entire race,” she explained. “I knew I couldn’t do that this year, so my goal was just be relaxed the first mile. Once I hit mile two, just go, get up those hills, down those hills, and sprint it out.”

After the race, Larson took some time to soak in the moment. With tears in her eyes, she began to celebrate her impressive achievement.

“I’ve just worked countless hours. Cross-country and track are, I don’t want to say my life, but kind of my life, and I just love running so much, and the feeling it gives me,” said Larson. “I just thank my parents and [coach Julie] Eppard for every opportunity they give me, because I couldn’t do it without them and God.”

This year, Chester Area also qualified for state cross country as a team. The Flyers finished fourth overall in the team standings for girls Class B. Potter County won the ‘B’ girls team title, Arlington placed second, and Lemmon came in third.

For complete results of the entire meet, click here.

Nate Wek is currently the sports content producer and sports and rec beat reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Broadcasting and a minor in Leadership. From 2010-2013 Nate was the Director of Gameday Media for the Sioux Falls Storm (Indoor Football League) football team. He also spent 2012 and 2013 as the News and Sports Director of KSDJ Radio in Brookings, SD. Nate, his wife Sarah, and two kids Braxan and Jordy, live in Canton, SD.