Mega Meet includes Perham-Stillwater boys match-up

Spectators at the Milaca Mega Cross Country Meet never have a shortage of runners and teams to focus on.

That will be true once again Saturday when approximately 5,000 runners, representing 125 schools,  take to the course at Stones Throw Golf Course. The 43rd annual meet will begin at 10 a.m. and continue through the afternoon.

“We have 29 state-ranked boys and girls teams loaded with top individuals registered for the meet,” said meet director Dave Dillan. “Along with very good teams from North Dakota and Wisconsin.

“As always, fans are in for a treat.”

One highlight is in Class AAAA boys where Perham, last year’s Class AA champion, has chosen to move up to Class AAAA to challenge Stillwater, the AAAA defending champion.

“That should be very interesting,” said Dillan. “And, fans are only going to see that match-up at the Mega Meet.”

Perham, the defending Class A state boys champion, has opened the 2013 campaign with titles in three meets and is currently ranked No. 1 in Class A.

“We want to run against the best and Stillwater has an incredible program and coach,” said Perham Coach Jeff Morris, who’s in his 12th season as guided the Yellowjackets’ coach. “This is a neat opportunity to see where we’re at.

“The meets that count big are at the end of the season but this meet has our team revved up.”

How good is the 2013 team?

“We had some huge graduation losses but this team is close to being as strong as last year,” said Morris. Our goal is to keep dreaming big, to take the program farther than last year’s team left it.”

Stillwater, currently ranked No. 2 in Class AA, has won the Class AAAA boys title at the Mega Meet four years in a row. The Ponies have placed second behind No. 1-ranked Wayzata twice this season in meets and won the Faribault Invitational last weekend.

“We returned just one of our top five runners, so we’re a work in progress,” said veteran Stillwater Coach Scott Christensen. “I have not been sleeping very well, the season has been grueling so far.

“Our goal is to make it three state titles in a row but we’ve got work to do.”

Christensen said he welcomes Perham’s move to Class AAAA for the Mega Meet.

“The size of the school has nothing to do with how fast you can run, how far you can throw or how high you can jump,” he said. “That’s fine with us – we welcome the challenge.”

Dillan, who’s also Milaca’s boys and girls head coach, said there will be several Milaca runners competing in races.

“We have great crowds and very well-behaved runners at the meet,” said Dillan. “It’s a highly-competitive meet but it’s also a social gathering.

“Spectators need to be aware that there is always a race going on and sometimes two. This course has great viewing opportunities.”

Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for students, and concessions are available.”