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Alexandria cross country: Cardinal boys, girls runners-up at Fergus Falls

It was a runner-up finish for both the Cardinal boys and girls at the John Hermes Invitational cross country meet in Fergus Falls Thursday, with the boys running a well grouped race and the girls taking the top two spots individually.

"Twelve schools competed at Pebble Lake Golf Course," said head coach Mark Nelsen. "Both our boys' and girls' teams finished second behind Sartell.

"The Alexandria runners did not have a large number of season best times. The course was challenging with rolling hills and many turns," he added. "This impacted times, but our runners did a great job of racing intelligently and challenging the course."

Boys missing a runner

Alexandria raced for the second week without Jimmy Lovrien in the lineup, who was lead runner for the Cardinals through the first three meets.

"Our young boys' team continues to step up and is racing with more confidence weekly," said Nelsen. "We had three runners run season best times on the varsity.

"Colton Sailor did a great job getting us off the line and moving into the lead pack; Trent Piepenburg and Austin Thom both [had] marked improvement and ran very solid final 1,200 meters."

Sailor finished sixth overall, while Aaron Runge was ninth, Piepenburg 14th, Brandon Jerde 16th, Jimmy Pfeffer 24th, Austin Thom 29th and Eric Branch 46th.

For their efforts, Sailor, Piepenburg and Thom were named varsity runners of the meet.

Girls take top spots

Once again, Megan and Bethany Hasz were at the front of the pack for the Cardinals, finishing first and second respectively.

"Our girls were led by Megan and Bethany, both with strong races," said Nelsen. "Their times were faster than Jamie Piepenburg's winning time from a year ago.

"They continue to impress the coaches with their fitness level.

"Karly Betterman had her best race of the season," he added. "It was fun to see her racing with confidence.

"This girls' team continues to show signs of being a championship team. Getting some of our varsity runners under the 16:00 mark will be critical.

"We have the runners that are capable," said the coach. "We need to continue to trail well, get healthy and stay healthy to be in position at the end of the season."

Betterman was 13th in the individual standings, with Julia Sieling 24th, Emily Thul 27th, Grace Griffin 29th and Kalley Kragenbring 47th.

For their efforts, Megan Hasz, Bethany Hasz and Betterman were named varsity runners of the meet.

Alexandria will be hosting the Lions Invitational "Meet of Champions" on Saturday.



BOYS' SCORES - Sartell 59, Alexandria 69, Little Falls 122, Park Rapids 123, St. Cloud Tech 139, Detroit Lakes 160, Fergus Falls 172, Pelican Rapids 174, Ottertail Central 218, West Central Area 222, Bemidji 234.

INDIVIDUAL CHAMPION - Wade Krueger, SCT, 16:33.8.

ALEXANDRIA RESULTS - 6. Colton Sailor 17:11.7, 9. Aaron Runge 17:34.3, 14. Trent Piepenburg 17:48.2, 16. Brandon Jerde 17:50.1, 24. James Pfeffer 18:10.6, 29. Austin Thom 18:25.1, 46. Eric Branch 19:03.1.

WEST CENTRAL AREA RESULTS - 28. Alex Toms 18:22.2, 32. Devin Nelson 18:29.8, 50. Ryley Nelson 19:05.8, 52. Ethan Olson 19:16.8, 60. Tyler Schill 19:53.9, 62. Bryce Paulson 19:58.1, 71. Isiah Westby 20:29.1.

GIRLS' SCORES - Sartell 48, Alexandria 67, Little Falls 90, Tech 123, Detroit Lakes 145, Pelican Rapids 158, Park Rapids 163, Fergus Falls 176, Wahpeton 210, Breckenridge-CT 266.

INDIVIDUAL CHAMPION - Megan Hasz, Alex, 14:29.9.

ALEXANDRIA RESULTS - 1. M. Hasz, 2. Bethany Hasz 14:30.2, 13. Karly Betterman 16:11.9, 24. Julia Sieling 16:46.4, 27. Emily Thul 17:03.7, 29. Grace Griffin 17:12.19, 47. Kalley Kragenbring 17:59.2.

WEST CENTRAL AREA RESULTS - 10. Abby VanKempen 15:47.2, 12. Kylee Fernholz 15:56.4, 31. Demara Bumgardner 16:57.4, 65. Ashton Blair 18:54.5.