Runner up finishes for Cardinal runnersIn the closest competition in recent years, the Cardinal cross country teams both finished second at the Central Lakes Conference championships in Willmar Tuesday – the girls missing the title by two points and the boys by just one.
In the closest competition in recent years, the Cardinal cross country teams both finished second at the Central Lakes Conference championships in Willmar Tuesday – the girls missing the title by two points and the boys by just one.
Despite the uncertain weather, the rain held off, temperatures stayed moderate and the wind was minimal, making for good running conditions.
Together, the Cardinals had seven runners earn All-Conference honors in Jamie Piepenburg, Chelsey Richardson, Katie Iverson, Zach Hodgson, Will Sieling, Austin McCoy and Mitch Ronning.
“The girls had their highest team finish in recent years as they continue to improve each week,” said Cardinal head coach Mark Nelsen. “In addition, the conference championship was as close as it has ever been.
“The girls finished second behind a very good Sartell team by only two points.
“There were many gutsy performances on this challenging course,” he added. “The coaches were very proud of the these efforts. Eleven of the 16 races were season best times.”
Piepenburg won her third straight CLC individual title, and avenged a loss to second place Heidi Peterson of Sartell-St. Stephen, who handed the Cardinal runner her only loss of the season in the previous meet.
“Jamie once again challenged Peterson,” said Nelsen. “This is the fourth time these two excellent runners have squared off.
“Jamie ran a very good race, edging Heidi by six seconds.”
Chelsey Richardson finished fifth for the Cardinals, while Katie Iverson finished 10th.
“Chelsey has continued to close the gap on some of the top runners in the conference and section, running a new personal best.
“Randee O’Brien (35th) has struggled with sore legs, but displayed a great effort and a great finish running her personal best.”
Piepenburg, Richardson and O’Brien were named runners of the meet for their efforts.
“The Alexandria boys finished second in the closest CLC cross country meet in history,” said coach Nelsen of his team’s one point contest with champion Willmar. “This one point does not begin to tell how close the meet really was.
“Three Alexandria runners ended in a photo finish without the photo. This proved to be the difference in the team score.
“The coaches were very pleased with the preparations, determination and effort of our boys,” he added. “It was truly a disappointment for our runners, parents and fans to be so close.”
Hodgson led the Cardinal boys with a fourth place finish, followed by Austin McCoy’s fifth place. Will Sieling was seventh and Mitch Ronning eighth.
“Zach and Will were not at 100 percent, struggling with some upper respiratory condition,” Nelsen noted. “Nevertheless, they still competed and battled right to the finish line, not saving anything.
“Mitch had a breakthrough race, shaving 29 seconds off his best race of the season.
“Austin ran his best race since recovering from an early season illness,” he added. “It was great to see his confidence over the final 1k.”
Just nine seconds separate the top four Cardinal runners, and 33 seconds separated the top five.
“We have not had the same team finish in any meet this season,” said Nelsen. “This is a well balanced boys’ team that continues to challenge each other and pull for each other.”
Ronning and McCoy were named runners of the meet for their efforts.
CENTRAL LAKES CONFERENCE
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 20
GIRLS’ TEAM SCORES – 1. Sartell-St. Stephen 56, 2. Alexandria 58, 3. Brainerd 81, 4. Little Falls 107, 5. Willmar 115, 6. Rocori 122, 7. Fergus Falls 180, 8. St. Cloud Apollo 189, 9. St. Cloud Tech 211.
TOP FIVE – 1. Jamie Piepenburg, Alex, 14:38.5, 2. Heidi Peterson, SS, 14:44.8, 3. Hannah Kellerman, SS, 15:17.6, 4. Hayley Zenner, Fergus, 15:40.3, 5. Chelsey Richardson, Alex, 15:43.3.
ALEXANDRIA RESULTS – 1. Piepenburg, 5. Richardson, 10. Katie Iverson 16:05.5, 19. Tessa Boucher 16:43.0, 23. Shelby Iverson 17:00.5, 35. Randee O’Brien 1:33.3, 37. Kaci McCoy 17:36.8.
BOYS’ TEAM SCORES – 1. Willmar 40, 2. Alexandria 41, 3. Brainerd 97, 4. Sartell-St. Stephen 103, 5. Little Falls 153, 6. St. Cloud Tech 154, 7. Fergus Falls 163, 8. St. Cloud Apollo 199, 9. Rocori 263, 10. Sauk Rapids-Rice 275.
TOP FIVE – 1. Jimmy Dean, Brainerd, 16:58.1, 2. Mowlid Mohamud, Willmar, 17:07.0, 3. C.J. Seifert, Willmar, 17:07.3, 4. Zach Hodgson, Alex, 17:07.6, 5. Austin McCoy, Alex, 17:13.3.
ALEXANDRIA RESULTS – 4. Hodgson, 5. McCoy, 7. Will Sieling 17:14.0, 8. Mitch Ronning 17:16.4, 17. Sam Vinje 17:40.1, 21. Daniel Gorghuber 17:53.8, 29. Michael Koel 18:24.4.