Cloquet, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- The top-ranked Class A runner in Minnesota proved his worth on Thursday afternoon, as Proctor senior Matt Welch won the individual Section 7A boys' cross country title and led his team into the state meet.
Welch finished with a time of 16:19 to claim his second overall Section 7A championship, with the other coming in his sophomore season.
The Proctor team saw four of its scoring runners finish in the top 20, helping the Rails to a narrow victory over Esko to claim the Section 7A team championship.
Jacob Welch, Zach Smith, Kody Stevens, and Garrett Sargent are the four runners who will join Welch as Proctor's representatives at the state meet.
For runner-up Esko, the top individual finisher was freshman Ben Mattinen in a time of 17:30. He will be joined at the state meet by Joey Johnson, Ben Hanson, Matt Rengo, and Trenton Menor.
Below are listed the state meet qualifiers from the Section 7A boys' cross country championship, with team-only qualifiers marked by an asterisk.
SECTION 7A BOYS' CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
1. Matt Welch (Proctor) --- 16:19
2. Danny Radtke (Mesabi East) --- 17:21
3. Jacob Welch (Proctor) --- 17:27
4. Sam Johnson (Mesabi East) --- 17:29
5. Ben Mattinen (Esko) --- 17:30
6. Joey Johnson (Esko) --- 17:31
7. Zach Smith (Proctor) --- 17:34
8. Will Goodwin (Crosby-Ironton) --- 17:34
9. Jude Severson (Crosby-Ironton) --- 17:36
10. Ben Hanson (Esko) --- 17:45
11. Nick Koenig (Cromwell-Floodwood) --- 17:47
12. Matt Rengo (Esko) --- 17:49
13. Reed Melicher (Eveleth-Gilbert) --- 17:53
14. Wyatt Becicka (Virginia) --- 18:00
15. Pentti Hanlon (Duluth Marshall) --- 18:03
***19. Kody Stevens (Proctor) --- 18:18
***24. Trenton Menor (Esko) --- 18:34
***25. Garrett Sargent (Proctor) --- 18:37