Piepenburg, McCoy lead Cardinal runners to firstBoth the boys' and girls' teams were first in their season opener at the Brainerd Melon Run.
On one of the more difficult courses they will see all season, the Cardinal boys’ and girls’ cross country teams were able to see what their teams were made of.
Good stuff, apparently, as both squads took home first place finishes, highlighted by top-ranked sophomore Jamie Piepenburg’s first place individual performance.
The Redbird boys, ranked sixth in the first Class AA poll of the season, had six placers in the top 10, led by Austin McCoy’s second place run with a time of 17:44, just 14 seconds off leader Jim Dean of Brainerd.
Sam Vinje was fourth in 18:16, David Ohman was sixth in 18:29, Will Sieling eighth in 18:37, Mitch Evink ninth in 18:47 and Dan Gorghuber 10th in 18:57. Jean-Luc Van Surksum rounded out the varsity at 12th with a time of 19:15.
“Our boys’ varsity team is very deep,” said Alexandria coach Mark Nelsen. “We have several runners that are very capable and will challenge for these positions.
“I expect we could have up to 10 or 12 runners within one minute of each other,” he added. “Presently our gap from 1-5 is 1:05.
Nelsen selected Ohman, Vinje, Gorghuber and Van Surksum as varsity runners of the meet as “these runners had significantly faster times on this course than a year ago.
“This is a result of their summer training,” he said.
“Austin ran a smart race, staying patient early on and pushing himself over the final one kilometer. Sam was our leader off the line and to the 1,600-meter mark. He struggled a little in the middle, but is much stronger than a year ago.
“David has made the most significant improvement from a year ago,” Nelsen said. “Dave improved more than two minutes on this course from last year. This is largely the result of all the miles he logged this past summer.
“Dan is much stronger and has come in more fit than last year. The coaches were very impressed with how he competed over the entire distance.”
In her 2009 debut, Piepenburg showed what has made her the top-ranked runner in Class AA as she cruised to a first place finish with a time of 15:04 – a full minute and 21 seconds ahead of the second place finisher, Anna Gessell of Brainerd.
“Jamie took off from where she was last year, leading our girls’ team and being the first runner to cross the line,” said Nelsen.
The girls’ squad also had several runners in the top 10, as Chelsey Richardson finished third in 16:46, Katie Iverson was fourth in 16:55 and Rachel Borden was ninth in 17:47, finishes that helped the Cardinals edge out Brainerd by two points in the team scoring.
“Chelsey has had a good summer training and a good first two and a half weeks,” Nelsen said of the Card senior. “She bettered her time from a year ago by over 40 seconds.
“We are excited and pleased with our two freshmen, Rachel Borden and Shelby Iverson, who have stepped up to our varsity and run very well in their first 4K competition.
“Katie Iverson has also been training well; keeping her healthy will be critical,” he said. “We rank without Tess Boucher, who has been bothered by some tendonitis. Randee O’Brien ran a very good race, only 14 seconds away from her best time last year.”
Those performances led Nelsen to select O’Brien and Richardson as varsity runners of the meet.
BRAINERD MELON RUN
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3
BOYS’ TEAM SCORES – 1. Alexandria 29, 2. Brainerd 38, 3. St. Cloud Tech 54, Pillager inc.
INDIVIDUAL WINNER – Jimmy Dean, Brainerd, 17:30.
ALEXANDRIA RESULTS – 2. Austin McCoy 17:44, 4. Sam Vinje 18:16, 6. David Ohman 18:29, 8. Will Sieling 18:37, 9. Mitch Evink 18:47, 10. Dan Gorghuber 18:57, 12. Jean-Luc Van Surksum 19:15.
GIRLS’ SCORES – 1. Alexandria 29, 2. Brainerd 31, 3. St. Cloud Tech 87, Pillager inc.
INDIVIDUAL WINNER – Jamie Piepenburg, Alexandria, 15:01,
ALEXANDRIA RESULTS – 1. Piepenburg, 3. Chelsey Richardson 16:46, 4. Katie Iverson 16:55, 9. Rachel Borden 17:47, 12. Shelby Iverson 18:14, 13. Randee O’Brien 18:20, 15. Caitlin Canavati 18:21.