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Alexandria’s Megan Hasz (right) led the pack midway through the 2012 Lions Meet of Champions with Bemidji’s Jenna Truedson and sister Bethany Hasz not for behind. All three runners figure to be near the front of the pack again this year as they square off this Saturday. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)
Alexandria’s Megan Hasz (right) led the pack midway through the 2012 Lions Meet of Champions with Bemidji’s Jenna Truedson and sister Bethany Hasz not for behind. All three runners figure to be near the front of the pack again this year as they square off this Saturday. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)

Alex cross country: Cards prepare to host Meet of Champions

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sports Alexandria, 56308

Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549
56308

More than 20 boys and girls cross country teams will travel to the Alexandria area tomorrow to run in the annual Lions Meet of Champions at the Arrowwood Resort.

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This home cross country meet hosted by the local Lions Club is an opportunity for the Cardinals to compete with some of the top-ranked cross country teams in the state. Head coach Mark Nelsen said every year the Meet of Champions gears up the team for conference and section competition. The conference championship meet is October 15 in Brainerd and the section championship meet is October 24 in Detroit Lakes.

“I’d just like to see us run some good team races and get some good individual performances and some confidence from the race,” Nelsen said. “At this point in the season, this starts kind of the championship time.”

Many of the top ranked teams in the state will be competing at Arrowwood Resort this weekend. This makes an appearance to the podium extremely difficult.

“Realistically, we don’t expect to see ourselves winning either of those divisions but we’d certainly like to place in the top echelon,” Nelsen said.

In the boys’ race, Nelsen said the team to beat is likely Stillwater. Currently, Stillwater is ranked third in the Class 2A coaches association rankings. Last season, Stillwater ran away with the title by scoring a total of 28 team points, which was 83 points ahead of second place St. Cloud Cathedral. The Cardinals finished in 10th place out of 22 teams with 294 points.

The girls’ race may be more wide open for multiple teams to compete at the top this season. Moorhead could be the team to beat, currently ranked ninth in the most recent Class 2A coaches poll. Last season, Alexandria finished eighth as a team. The Cardinals would like to finish close to Moorhead, as both compete in the same section.

“It would be nice for our girls to be in the ballpark with them so we can look forward to them toward the end of the season,” Nelsen said.

Individually, the Hasz sisters, Megan and Bethany, should be in the running to capture the overall girls title against a strong field of runners. Megan is ranked second in the latest individual Class AA polls and Bethany is ranked sixth.

The Cardinals could be without two of their varsity runners this weekend. Julia Sieling did not race last week and Aaron Runge has been limited in practice with a small injury. The team will see how both runners feel during Friday’s practice before making a decision whether they can race.

“They both want to race, with that being our home invite,” Nelsen said. “With the conference champ coming up nine days after that in the section championship, we certainly want to keep them healthy.”

Racing action will kick off at 10:30 a.m. with the girls’ junior high race. The girls will get the varsity portion of the meet going at approximately 12:15 p.m. with the boys following at 12:45 and an awards program wrapping things up at around 1:15.

LIONS MEET OF CHAMPIONS

START TIMES

10:30 A.M. - Girls’ junior high race

10:50 - Boys’ junior high race

11:15 - Girls’ junior varsity race

11:45 - Boys’ junior varsity race

12:15 p.m. - Girls’ varsity race

12:45 - Boys’ varsity race

1:15 - Awards program

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