Card girls' cross country: Last high school race for Piepenburg
By: Lori Mork, Alexandria Echo Press
Undefeated senior Jamie Piepenburg will be racing in her final high school meet on Saturday as she and her Cardinal teammates head for the State Class AA cross country meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield.
Piepenburg, last year’s state runner-up, will be trying to break through for a state title, but faces some tough competition as two-time defending champion, Maria Hauger, stands in her way.
Hauger, the junior phenom from Shakopee, is No. 1 in the state polls and No. 25 in the national rankings. She is also last year’s Gatorade Minnesota Cross Country Runner of the Year.
Those are some pretty impressive credentials.
But Piepenburg is not without her own accolades, having competed in the state meet every year since moving up to varsity as an 8th grader. She was runner-up to Hauger last year, and in 2008 and 2009, she finished third.
No one has been close to her this season, with one exception – 8th grade teammates and twins, Megan and Bethany Hasz.
The three runners have finished 1-2-3 in five meets this year, and Megan Hasz came within 7.9 seconds of Piepenburg at the Fergus Falls meet September 29.
All three are in the state rankings for Class AA, with Piepenburg second, Megan Hasz fifth and Bethany Hasz seventh.
Those three, along with Karly Betterman, Julia Sieling, Kristin Egenes, Emily Thul and alternates Kaci McCoy and Sari Gaugert, have had such a successful season that they will all be at the Class AA meet this Saturday, the first time Alexandria’s girls’ squad has advanced as a team since 1999.
Alexandria, which has quite a history of success in cross country, was ranked No. 9 in the most recent state polls.
Monticello, which placed second in 2010, is this year’s highest returning qualifier. The Magic have eight runners with previous state meet experience. Ten additional teams also return from last year’s field: Lakeville South, Lakeville North, Shakopee, Chanhassen, Prior Lake, Roseville Area, East Ridge of Woodbury, Wayzata, Forest Lake, and Andover.
Alexandria, along with Eagan, St. Michael-Albertville, Totino-Grace of Fridley and Edina, round out this year’s Class AA field.
Along with Piepenburg and Hauger, three other top-10 finishers return: Andover junior Nicole Heitzman, fourth; Monticello senior Erica Seidenkranz, fifth; and Monticello sophomore Amber Seidenkranz, sixth.
ALEXANDRIA GIRLS’ STATE HISTORY
1980 (10th), 1981 (8th), 1982 (8th), 1983 (3rd), 1984 (2nd), 1985 (1st), 1986 (4th), 1987 (1st), 1988 (2nd), 1989 (6th), 1990 (12th), 1991 (16th), 1993 (5th), 1994 (3rd), 1995 (9th), 1996 (2nd), 1997 (2nd), 1998 (4th), 1999 (5th).
JAMIE PIEPENBURG – 2010 (2nd) 14:34.7; 2009 (3rd) 14:45.6; 2008 (3rd) 14:38.7; 2007 (11th) 15:05.0