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Park boys track team members R.J. Alowonle, D'Monte Farley, Irving Gutierrez and Dylan Smallidge took part in the rainy Strawberry Fest parade on Saturday, June 18. Park finished third overall at this year's state track meet -- matching the school's best-ever finish at the state meet.

A soggy Strawberry Fest

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Sports have always been a part of Cottage Grove's Strawberry Fest -- and, despite soggy conditions, 2011 was no exception.

Sporting events at this year's Strawberry Fest included the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament; a figure skating exhibition and public skating on Thursday, June 16, at the Cottage Grove Ice Arena; the Cottage Grove versus St. Paul Park public safety softball game on Friday, June 17, at the Lamar Softball Complex; and the men's and co-ed softball tournaments and home run derby on Saturday, June 18, at Lamar.

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Folks also took part in the annual Strawberry Fest 5K and kids one-mile run at Kingston Park on Saturday, June 18, and the second-annual NFL Punt, Pass and Kick competition, sponsored by Cottage Grove Athletic Association football on Saturday, June 18, at Kingston Park.

Even with poor weather over the weekend, most events were able to take place. However, because of heavy rain on Saturday, June 18, the men's softball tournament was canceled halfway through and the co-ed softball tournament and home run derby never even got started.

New champions in sixth-annual 5K run

New champions were crowned once again in the sixth-annual Strawberry Fest 5K run.

Brian Doemier was the top male finisher and Brooke Anderson was the fastest female finisher in the race, held on a drizzly morning of Saturday, June 18, at Kingston Park.

Doemier finished the 3.1-mile race in a time of 18 minutes, 55.84 seconds -- well ahead of second-place finisher Jimmy Lanik, who had a time of 19:14.62. Last year, Robert Briggs won the race in 18:44.42, taking the Strawberry Fest 5K title from St. Paul's Dave Quie -- who won the past three years, but didn't compete in the race last year. Like Quie, Briggs wasn't on hand to defend his title this year.

Anderson won the female title, crossing the finish line in a time of 21 minutes, 36.18 seconds, taking the title from last year's champion Teresa Brenneke, who didn't run this year's race. In the women's 5K, Anderson outpaced second-place finisher Renee Oxford, who ran a time of 21:52.18. Oxford was the second female to cross the finish line this last year as well, with a time of 21:24.23. Despite the inclement conditions, 159 runners participated in this year's 5K run, down slightly from last year's 163.

Punt, pass and kick contest

For the second-straight year, the Strawberry Fest was a local host for the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick competition, sponsored by Cottage Grove Athletic Association football.

The free contest, which took part on Saturday, June 18, at Kingston Park, is a national skills competition for boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 15 to compete separately against their peers.

The Punt, Pass and Kick was established in 1961 and is the oldest NFL Youth Football program, where girls and boys in four separate age divisions (6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13 and 14-15) compete against each other in punting, passing and place kicking in a fun and engaging forum. Both distance and accuracy are measured in the contest.

First place winners from the Strawberry Fest event will advance to a regional competition, with date and location yet to be determined.

Winners in this year's Punt, Pass and Kick competition were, in the girls competition, Laura Kual in the age 6-7 age group, Ajah Lindow in the 8-9 division, Megan Towle in the 12-13 age group and Marea Detzler in the 14-15 age group. In the boys competition, Will Smoot won the 6-7 age group, Grant Glazier won the 10-11 age group, Lucas Liljedahl won the 12-13 division and Kyle Bernardy won the 14-15 division.

See additional photos and the full 5K results in the June 22 issue of the Bulletin

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