Cross country: Alexandria teams surge to front in openerJamie Piepenburg and Zach Hodgson both won individual championships at Brainerd
Junior Jamie Piepenburg and senior Zach Hodgson cruised to first place individual finishes at the annual Brainerd “Run for Your Melon” season-opening meet Thursday as the boys’ squad had the first three individual spots to take the team title.
The Cardinal girls were second to Brainerd in the event.
Both Piepenburg and Hodgson were enormous in the meet, as the Redbird junior improved her time from last season by 10 full seconds in her 4,000-meter event, defending her title with a time of 14:51 and setting a new course record, while Hodgson cruised to a 17:28 time over the 5,000-meter course.
“Jamie ran 10 seconds faster than a year ago on a course that was 150 meters longer than a year ago,” said head coach Mark Nelsen of Piepenburg’s record-setting time.
Last year, Hodgson competed on the junior varsity to start the season.
Piepenburg was third in the State Class AA meet the last two seasons and Hodgson was 19th in last year’s state meet.
Following Hodgson was Will Sieling in second and Mitch Evink in third.
“This is the first time in recent years that we had three boys under 18:00 on this course,” Nelsen said. “In addition, the overall depth of this boys’ team is as good as it has been in years.
“Zach Hodgson and Will Sieling did a great job getting our boys off the line and running smart races.
“Mitch Evink was very impressive, running his best race in the last two years,” Nelsen added. “We seemed to race with great confidence in the middle of the race.”
Dan Gorghuber finished fifth overall, with Jimmy Lovrien in sixth, Mitch Ronning in seventh and Zac Bartolomeo in eighth.
“Zac Bartolomeo and Jimmy Lovrien both ran new personal records and had significant improvements from this course last year,” said the coach. “The summer miles are definitely having a positive impact on these two and many of our other runners.”
On the girls’ squad, Shelby Iverson finished sixth, Karly Betterman 11th, Julia Sieling 12th, Kaci McCoy 13th, Kristin Egenes 16th and Sari Gaugert 17th.
“Shelby Iverson ran over a minute faster than her time on this course from a year ago,” Nelsen pointed out. “Sari Gaugert also charted over a minute improvement from last year’s race. The summer training has paid big dividends.
“The addition of freshmen Karly Betterman and Julia Sieling to our varsity team has been huge,” he said. “These two also had a good summer training and this has helped them make the jump to varsity.”
BRAINERD RUN FOR YOUR MELON
CROSS COUNTRY MEET
BOYS’ TEAM SCORES – 1. Alexandria 17, 2. Crosby-Ironton 59, 3. Brainerd 62, 4. Pillager incomplete.
INDIVIDUAL CHAMPION – Zach Hodgson, Alex, 17:28.
ALEX RESULTS – 1. Hodgson, 2. Will Sieling 17:44, 3. Mitch Evink 17:58, 5. Dan Gorghuber 18:09, 6. Jimmy Lovrien 18:10, 7. Mitch Ronning 18:16, 8. Zac Bartolomeo 18:23.
GIRLS’ TEAM SCORES – 1. Brainerd 24, 2. Alexandria 43, 3. Crosby-Ironton 69, 4. Pillager incomplete.
INDIVIDUAL CHAMPION – 1. Jamie Piepenburg, Alex, 14:51.
ALEXANDRIA RESULTS – 1. Piepenburg, 6. Shelby Iverson 17:15, 11. Karly Betterman 17:53, 12. Julia Sieling 17:54, 13. Kaci McCoy 17:58, 16. Kristin Egenes 18:14, 17. Sari Gaugert 18:15.
BOYS’ JV – 1. Elijah Harsell 18:58, 2. Trent Piepenburg 19:06, 3. Tyler Johnson 19:22, 4. Dylan Koenig 19:33, 5. Kyle Blank 20:36, 6. Austin Thom 20:50, 7. Alex Haack 21:11, 10. Lukas McKidy 21:50, 11. Dan Myers 21:52, 12. Gustavo Anolfi 22:11, 15. Levi Otterness 23:06.
GIRLS’ JV – 1. Emily Thul 18:16, 3. Rachel Borden 18:50, 6. Max Carlson 20:57, 7. Mady Urman 21:12, 8. Melissa Gromatka 21:13, 10. Tayler Kaufmann 21:59, 11. Madi Groettum 22.35.