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Alexandria’s Bethany and Megan Hasz led the pack at the Nike Heartland Regional cross country race in Sioux Falls with Bemidji’s Jenna Truedson right behind them on Sunday. Both Megan and Bethany qualified for Nike Nationals at the event, which will be held in Oregon in December. (Contributed)

Another record falls at regionals

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

Those who thought Bethany and Megan Hasz would take a little break after finishing first and second at the Minnesota state cross country meet underestimate the competitive nature of this duo.

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The Hasz sisters were back at it in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for the Nike Cross Heartland regional meet with a trip to Nike Nationals on the line this past Sunday. The top five boys and girls individuals and the top two teams all make the Nike Nationals meet in December.

The Hasz sisters not only punched their ticket to that, but they continued to wow the rest of the field as Bethany took first in 17:17.5 and Megan was right behind her in 17:21.5. Bethany’s time is a new course record at Yankton Trails Park, beating the previous record of 17:19.06 set by Katie Flood of Iowa in 2009. Megan’s time is good for third best on the course.

“I was truly blown away by that time,” Alexandria head coach Mark Nelsen said. “I just did not expect them to run that fast. That’s pretty close to the pace they ran at the state meet, but they ran a 5K instead of a 4K. I was just shocked that they were that fast.”

The Heartland Region consists of runners from the states of Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The Alexandria girls’ team also ran with the Hasz sisters. Ellie Hurlen finished in 20:43.5. Julia Sieling (21:41.1), Whitney Olson (24:24.9) and Jeanna Miller (27:05.8) all raced, as well.

The Cardinal boys’ team ran with Aaron Runge finishing 85th in 16:35.6. Colton Sailor (17:11.1), Trenton Piepenburg (17:16.5), Brandon Jerde (17:21.2), Austin Thom (17:35.4) and Wesley Graves (18:21.9) also helped Alexandria to a 20th-place team finish.

Nelsen called it an even better performance than what the Hasz sisters did at the state meet. Shakopee’s Maria Hauger won the Heartland Region last year with a time of 17:33.55. Bethany and Megan had no problem eclipsing that mark on Sunday. Jenna Truedson of Bemidji kept within striking distance of Megan at the state meet more than a week ago, but Megan beat her by more than 30 seconds on Sunday.

“I think their times and their performances at the regional meet were more impressive than the state meet,” Nelsen said. “They’ve improved dramatically over the last year and from race to race during the entire season. They race in the state meet and I’m going, ‘They have raced hard at the conference, section and state meet. It’s going to be hard to put together another good race.’ Then at the Nike meet, they run even better. It’s just an indication of the fierce competitors they are.”

The sisters will now turn their attention to the Nike Nationals, which take place in Portland, Oregon on December 7. The girls have seemingly gotten better with every passing meet this season. Now they will have a chance to turn some heads at a national level.

“If you make a top 25 at a national meet as a sophomore, that would be pretty impressive,” Nelsen said. “I’m sure they’re shooting to be top 25, but they never cease to amaze me. For them to run those kinds of times at regions, that was pretty impressive. I’m sure they’re shooting to do pretty well down there.”

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