The Alexandria girls' track and field team may have finished third at its home triangular on Tuesday, but that was hardly the focus of the meet.
The Cardinals and head coach Meghan Orgeman-Crumb have already set their sights on making a run at the Central Lakes Conference title. They set up their lineup with that in mind as the Cardinals held a lot of athletes out of their regular events and finished behind Sartell and Willmar with a true-team score of 214.
Alexandria hopes the results look a little different after the CLC meet at Sauk Rapids on May 23. The Cardinals didn't have either of the Hasz sisters, Megan and Bethany, run in the 1,600 or the 3,200 on Tuesday. Those are events that this team knows it can rack up points in, but whether or not those two will run both those races next week depends on what will be best for the team.
"It is up for debate," Orgeman-Crumb said. "Right now, as far as the conference goes, Mark Nelsen and I are doing our homework. We're crunching the numbers, looking at the competition and we'll do what it takes. If we need to go there, we will. If we don't need to go there, we won't. We're going to shoot for a conference championship, and we want to make sure we're basing our decisions on facts and numbers rather than just being extremely aggressive when it's not needed."
The first-year head coach said she is pleased with where her team is at after watching her athletes set 37 season or personal bests at their home invite. That's a number that was much more important to Orgeman-Crumb than the final score.
"That's what we want," she said. "We want personal bests right now. We don't necessarily need wins."
Senior Briquelle Bowden got the most notable of those by tying a school record in the high jump. She cleared 5'6" to win the event and pull even with the mark that Linda Johnson set back in 1980 for Alexandria. Karly Betterman also set a personal record on her way to winning the triple jump with a jump of 33 feet.
Those were two of the four wins that the Cardinals had on the day. The Hasz sisters didn't race in the longer distance races, but they did battle it out in the 800-meter run. It couldn't have got much closer with Bethany winning in 2:26.58 to Megan's 2:26.60.
The Alexandria throwers were impressive as well. Sophomore Cheyenne Hendrickson won the shot put with a toss of 34-02.50. That had more than three feet on her previous personal best. She also demolished her previous personal best in the discus by more than 26 feet with a toss of 97-10 on her way to a sixth-place finish. Her teammates Murphy Notch and Kimberly Watkins tied for third with throws of 106-08.
"Our throwers did phenomenal, both boys and girls," Orgeman-Crumb said. "Cheyenne got a big PR in shot put, which put her in the highest spot in our conference...Chey-enne stepped up and then Kim Watkins and Murphy Notch also had PRs."
Some other notable performances came from Becca Illies and Madi Urman in the sprints. Illies, a senior, finished faster than 16 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles for the first time in her career to take second in 15.86. Urman is coming off a sickness and regaining her strength as she finished second in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes in 12.88 and 26.72 seconds, respectively.
Those are the kinds of results this team was looking for as it sets things up for a run at a conference title next Thursday.
"As the meets get bigger, our team competes better because we have studs," Orgeman-Crumb said. "I'm really thankful that we had those 37 season or personal bests. I think we're heading in the right direction, and we have great coaches to help work out any kinks we have right now. We're working really hard to come together to go for a conference championship."
ALEX TOP-EIGHT FINISHES - 4x400 RELAY - Shanee' Herd, Betterman, Sara Wegner, M. Hasz - second place, 10:26.03; Morgan Melrose, Julia Sieling, Alyssa Freiderick, B. Hasz - third place, 10:39.56
100-METER HURDLES - Illies - second place, 15.86; Bowden - sixth place, 16.66
100-METER DASH - Urman - second place, 12.88; Anna Spanbauer - seventh place, 13.36
4X200 RELAY - Illies, Gabby Koel, Tahlia Bowden, Urman - second place, 1:53.54; Gabby Yell, Emily Klinkner, JeAnna Miller, Leah Huss - fifth place, 2:02.51
1,600-METER RUN - Ellie Hurlen - fourth place, 6:01.79
4X100 RELAY - B. Bowden, Illies, Huss, Spanbauer - second place, 54.74
400-METER DASH - Julia Sieling - third place, 1:05.30; Sara Wegner - fifth place, 1:08.09; Miller - eight place, 1:08.66
300-METER HURDLES - Betterman - second place, 49.55; Koel - fifth place, 51.30; Herd - seventh place, 52.80
800-METER RUN - B. Hasz - first place, 2:26.58; M. Hasz - second place, 2:26.60
200-METER DASH - Urman - second place, 26.72; Tayler Kaufman - fifth place, 28.12; Spanbauer - seventh place, 28.72
4X400 RELAY - Koel, Sieling, M. Hasz, B. Hasz - second place, 4:25.02; Huss, Kate LeBrasseur, Hollie Ann Schnitzler, Sam Fredrick - eighth place, 5:04.86
LONG JUMP - Liza Knoblach - fifth place, 14-09
TRIPLE JUMP - Betterman - first place, 33-00; Miller - third place, 32-00.50; Hannah Wendel - fifth place, 31-10
POLE VAULT - Tayler Kaufman - fifth place, 7-03
DISCUS - Notch - third place, 106-08; Wilkins - third place, 106-08; Hendrickson - sixth place, 97-10
SHOT PUT - Hendrickson - first place, 34-02.50; Wilkins - second place, 30-10; Notch - sixth place, 30-01
HIGH JUMP - B. Bowden - first place, 5-06; Miller - third place, 4-10; Koel - sixth place, 4-08