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Sophomore Aaron Runge led the Alexandria boys with a sixth-place finish at the CLC meet. (Echo Press photo by Eric Morken)

Alex cross country: Cards save best for CLC meet

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The Alexandria girls' cross country team finished second and the boys were third at the Central Lakes Conference championship meet on Tuesday.

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The Hasz sisters, Bethany and Megan, continued their dominance this season as they took the top two spots in the girls' race. Bethany outkicked Megan in the final 800 meters as she won the CLC championship by almost 10 seconds.

That set the tone for a strong race by the Alexandria girls. The Cardinals' top five runners all received recognition as Shelby Iverson (15th place) joined the Hasz sisters with all-conference finishes. Melissa Drown (18th place) and Julia Sieling (22nd) were honorable mention runners. That helped Alexandria finish with 58 team points, 14 behind Willmar's 44.

"[They] had their best team performance of the 2012 season," head coach Mark Nelsen said of his girls. "A credit to the Willmar girls' team as they ran very well and held off a strong challenge from our girls. The meet was much closer than the score would indicate. This was our best team average and best team gap from 1-5 and 1-7 for the entire season."

A young Alexandria boys' team just missed finishing as the runner-up as well. The Cardinals finished with a team score of 70, one off Sartell's 69 as Willmar won the CLC title with 57 points.

"We were definitely in the mix for the team championship and needed to have a couple of more great races to close the gap," Nelsen said. "We were only one point behind a very good Sartell boys' team. Our boys definitely came ready to compete."

Aaron Runge and Jimmy Lovrien led the way with a couple of all-conference performances. Runge finished sixth individually with Lovrien right behind him in seventh place. Colton Sailor was also all conference with a 12th-place finish, while Trent Piepenburg was honorable mention all conference after finishing 18th overall.

CLC CHAMPIONSHIP

GIRLS' TEAM RESULTS - Willmar 44; Alexandria 58; Sartell 91; Brainerd 93; Rocori 152; St. Cloud Tech 161; Fergus Falls 179; Sauk Rapids 201; St. Cloud Apollo 226

ALEXANDRIA RESULTS - 1. Bethany Hasz - 14:23.6; 2. Megan Hasz - 14:33; 15. Iverson - 16:07.2; 18. Drown - 16:08.8; 22. Sieling - 16:30.2; 23. Rebecca Mateer - 16:30.7; 27. Karly Betterman - 16:40.9

BOYS' TEAM RESULTS - Willmar 57; Sartell 69; Alexandria 70; Rocori 109; Brainerd 114; Fergus Falls 135; St. Cloud Tech 159; Sauk Rapids 223; St. Cloud Apollo 232

ALEXANDRIA RESULTS - 6. Runge - 17:30.4; 7. Lovrien - 17:32.2; 12. Sailor - 17:42.3; 18. Piepenburg - 18:04.5; 27. Brandon Jerde - 18:35.2; 33. James Pfeffer - 18:43.9; 40. Eric Branch - 19:22.6

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