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Jessen, MHS has high hopes heading into state

Submitted Photo Trinity Jessen of defending state champion Minot High, ranked fourth in the state, looks for a dominant showing at the Class A state meet in Jamestown. The meet is scheduled to take place on Saturday.

The Minot girls cross country team will look to defend their 2019 Class A state championship when they take the course in Jamestown on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the club’s top runner, sophomore Trinity Jessen, has her sights set on a top five finish, both individually and in the overall team standings. The young standout runner believes that by taking a basic approach, these high aspirations will be attainable.

“There are some really good teams in this year’s field like Watford City and Williston, so we just need to hold it together and stay positive,” Jessen tells The Minot Daily News via telephone. “I think about how hard me and my teammates have worked to get to this point, and we deserve it.”

For Jessen individually, she has experienced a meteoric rise in cross country over the past year.

Ending the 2019 campaign among the top 25 Class A varsity runners in North Dakota, she enters the state competition ranked fourth overall; the highest ranking of her varsity career thus far. The Majette student-athlete, who also competes in track and field during the spring sports season, admits her rapid growth in cross country has been rather unexpected this year due to less offseason training compared with her typical workload.

“I thought my body needed rest, so to be honest, I was not expecting all of this because I figured I was going to start out this season a little out of shape. It turned out the added rest really benefited me. Other than that, there wasn’t a whole lot of changes I made to my routine,” Jessen shares.

A former soccer player with no prior background in competitive running, Jessen reveals former teammate Ashley Nelson was the first person to suggest she should give cross country a try in the seventh grade. In addition to getting her initially interested in a new sport, it was Nelson who also recommended working with current Minot cross country coach Carla Wahlund. As Jessen suggests, the experience of running for coach Wahlund has been invaluable.

“She’s super positive, and she forms bonds with team members outside of running,” the Minot High competitor says of Wahlund. “She’s very supportive and willing to listen, and we all want to do well at state because it would make our coach very happy.”

In order to stay prepared for a long and grueling cross country campaign, Jessen uses the spring track season to compete individually in the 800 meters, the one mile and the two mile. As a result, she believes being in competition mode for most of the school year will help keep her mentally sharp for big meets such as the one in Jamestown this weekend.

“I plan on running in college, so I just want to make the most of these kinds of opportunities by contining to get better. That is my main focus right now,” the runner adds.

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