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Published October 28, 2012, 10:24 PM

Perham cross country team wants to be best in the nation

Perham, MN (WDAY TV) -- Winning has become a tradition for Perham boys cross country. Going back to 2006, the Yellowjackets have won 3 state titles, and finished runner-up the other 3 times.

By: Jody Norstedt, WDAY

Perham, MN (WDAY TV) -- Winning has become a tradition for Perham boys cross country. Going back to 2006, the Yellowjackets have won 3 state titles, and finished runner-up the other 3 times.

This year, they're not only trying to be the best in the state, but also the best in the country.

Team Chants: "I believe, I believe, I believe that, I believe that."

Team Members: "The relationships you gain with the team is amazing. I don't really know how we like running it's just something about it that we can't explain. As soon as we get on the line it's like, let that gun go. We want to go and just prove to everyone."

This year's Perham cross country team has a chance to do something special.

Brady Speicher/runner: "We found this website a couple years ago. It's like, oh, it would be so cool to be ranked in the top 50 and now we're there."

In fact they've outdone themselves, the well respected website XCnation.com, ranks the Yellowjackets 25th in the country, and first in the small school division. Meaning a strong kick at the upcoming state meet

could bring a national championship trophy to Perham.

Brady Speicher: "We were like let's prove that small schools can do something. We don't need a big, huge enrollment or a big team even. We just have to keep the intensity up and keep going out there and training everyday."

Finding motivation has been easy, last year, the Jackets fell 1-point shy of capturing the program's 4th state title.

Jeff Morris/Perham Cross Country Coach: "It was hard because we were so close and I thought we had a chance. We were actually 20 points ahead with about 200 meters to go, but we just didn't finish that well."

Brady Speicher: "It was a huge motivator for us to go out and train over the summer."

Determined to overcome that 1-point deficit, the Jackets trained together over the summer, running close to 70 miles per week.

Keeghan Hurley/runner: "Most teams just go on there own and just put in the miles. Instead we expect you to show up. We just make sure everyone does their part. We're like we have morning practice tomorrow, so you better show up."

Jeff Morris: It's easy in the summer to just lay around and watch TV, but they want to do something that's weird and different. It's really cool to see those kids get out there and do it. It's a team effort and it's a lot of fun to watch.

The team has received a huge boost, from Fergus Falls transfer Keeghan Hurley, who finished first at the section meet, but the Jackets are the ultimate team, they placed all 7 of their runners in the top 11 spots.

Keegan Hurley: I cross the line, and when I look back I see all these "P" with the Stinger logo and it's like there's the guys let's do this some more. So everytime I feel like giving up, it's like I can't give up.

It's that type of motivation that could lead to a state and perhaps a national championship.

Team: "Jackets!"

Perham also has a great chance at being one of the 20 teams to qualify for the Nike Nationals meet, that's all schools, which will be held a week after the state meet, November 11th in Sioux Falls.

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