Card cross country: Alex boys, girls run to first at BrainerdJimmy Lovrien and Bethany Hasz captured individaul first place finishes as well.
By: Lori Mork, Alexandria Echo Press
CARDINAL DUO RANKED
Alexandria freshmen Megan and Bethany Hasz were ranked Nos. 4 and 5 respectively in the Minnesota High School Coaches pre-season cross country polls
With Bethany finishing first and Megan second, the Redbird girls edged out Brainerd for the title at last week’s annual “Run for Your Melon” cross country meet in Brainerd
Alexandria cross country coach Mark Nelsen couldn’t have asked for a better start to the Cardinal season as both the boys’ and the girls’ teams grabbed top honors at the annual “Run for Your Melon” at the Arboretum in Brainerd Friday.
“This is a challenging 5K (3.1 mile) race for our boys and 4K (2.5 mile) race for our girls,” he said. “The runners competed on trails through the Arboretum. This is one of the more difficult courses we compete on.
“We had great weather and our runners ran extremely well,” he said. “It was a very good start to our season. Many of the Cardinals improved on their intra-squad performance from a week ago.”
Card boys’ cruise to win
The Cardinal boys cruised past second place Crosby-Ironton (No. 8 in Class A) by 19 points, while the girls edged out Brainerd by seven points.
Jimmy Lovrien was on top of his race as he cruised to a 17:30 first place finish, just ahead of teammate Colton Sailor.
“Jimmy demonstrated the value of a summer’s worth of training,” said Nelsen. “Five hundred summer miles resulted in a race time almost a minute faster than last year, and his winning time was 11 seconds faster than last year’s winning time.
“Colton also had a solid summer of training, and as a result, he ran a faster time than any of his last year’s races.
“Eric Branch and Carl Branch also ran personal best races in their first completion of 2012,” he added. “Tyler Owen, a new sophomore to our cross country team, looked very impressive in his first meet ever.”
Brandon Jerde finished eighth for the Cards, while Aaron Runge was ninth, Trent Piepenburg 10th, Jimmy Pfeffer 16th and Austin Thom 23rd.
Lovrien, Sailor, Cody Lanman, Owen, Andrew Storm, E. Branch and C. Branch were all named runners of the meet for their performances, which were all substantially better than last year on this course.
Girls edge Warriors
Led by Bethany and Megan Hasz, the Cardinal girls edged out the host Brainerd team by seven points to claim the Melon Run title.
“Bethany and Megan ran over 30 seconds faster than their performance in 2011 on this course,” said Nelsen. “A great start to the 2012 season for these two.”
Bethany finished the race with a time of 15:29 and Megan was right on her heels.
Julia Sieling finished eighth overall, Karly Betterman ninth, Emily Thul 23rd, Grace Griffin 24th and Natalie Amundson 25th.
“Julia ran 32 seconds faster than her intrasquad performance from a week ago,” Nelsen said. “Natalie, Melissa Gromatka, Ellie Hurlen and Hannah Wendel were all much improved over their time trial of last week.”
B. Hasz, Sieling, Wendel, Amundson, Hurlen and Gromakta were named runners of the meet for their performances.
Next up for the Cards will be the Bemidji Invitational today, Friday.
BRAINERD “RUN FOR YOUR MELON” MEET
BOYS’ TEAM SCORES – 1. Alexandria 30, 2. Crosby-Ironton 49, 3. Brainerd 72, 4. Little Falls 73.
GIRLS’ TEAM SCORES – 1. Alexandria 41, 2. Brainerd 48, 3. Little Falls 58, 4. Crosby-Ironton 75.