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Runners honored for special season

The Alexandria cross country teams wrapped up a memorable season for both the boys and girls by recognizing a lot of the athletes that made it that way at its season awards banquet recently. 

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The Outstanding Runner Award went to three individuals as Aaron Runge took home the award on the guys’ side and Megan and Bethany Hasz shared the award for the girls. The Hasz sisters were the two top runners in the state almost all season and proved that as Bethany became the first-ever Alexandria state champion and Megan finished right behind her at the Class AA meet.

B. HaszM. HaszRunge paced a boys’ team that improved with almost every meet this season. Joining him BettermanHurlenwith team awards were Austin Thom taking home the Cardinal XC Award for his great GravesThomattitude toward his teammates and training. Wesley Graves rounded things out with the Most RungeImproved Award.

Sophomore Ellie Hurlen took home that award on the girls’ side. Senior Karly Betterman won the Cardinal XC Award for the girls for her positive attitude and leadership qualities.

“Successful teams are fortunate to have large numbers of runners willing to contribute to a positive team atmosphere,” head coach Mark Nelsen said. “The coaches are so excited about the experiences of this year’s team and feel that these experiences will provide the athletes with incentive to make next year even better.”

Alexandria had the most runners it has ever had out for cross country in the history of the program. That bodes well for the future as both the boys and girls return a lot of talent next year.

The boys will build off an 11th-place finish at the state meet. The Cardinals had five All-Central Lakes Conference runners on a team that won the league meet by one point. Trent Piepenburg, Runge, Colton Sailor, Brandon Jerde and Thom earned that distinction and Jimmy Pfeffer was an honorable-mention runner. Runge, Sailor, Jerde and Pfeffer will all be back next year.

The Cardinal girls also have a lot to build off of after finishing fourth at the section meet as a team. They came just four points shy of qualifying for state. They were third in the CLC with the Hasz sisters earning all-conference honors to go along with their all-state recognition. Hurlen, Kiyana Miller, Betterman and Julia Sieling were honorable-mention all-conference runners.

The Alexandria girls were also successful in the classroom where they earned a gold level team academic award with a GPA of 3.92.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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