Alex runners honor a standout season
Jacob Kleven and Aleah Miller earn MVP honors after leading the boys and girls cross country teams in Alexandria to standout seasons.
The cross country season for the Alexandria boys and girls programs was filled with big accomplishments, and those bringing home honors from the team’s awards banquet had to earn them.
The Cardinals voted on four different team awards, and senior Jacob Kleven and junior Aleah Miller took home the honor of being named each team’s outstanding runner.
Kleven posted a season-best time among the boys of 16:43 and led the team to a second-place finish at sections by taking third individually in 16:52.3.
Miller led the girls to a perfect season that was completed by winning the section meet. She took second individually that day in Bemidji with a time of 18:54.2. Her season-best 5K time and the best time for any Alexandria girl in 2020 was 18:48.
Hayden Peterson earned the Cardinals XC Award for the boys, while Grace Panther took that honor for the girls. Peterson was part of the section team that would have qualified for state if not for the pandemic eliminating the meet at St. Olaf. He finished the 8AA meet in 18:58.3. Panther ran varsity throughout the season, and was a big part of the team culture that this program prides itself on every season.
Mataya Hoelscher was in her first season in cross country as a senior, and she was named the girls’ most improved runner. Hoelscher became a consistent scorer for the varsity team, and she wrapped up her season with a 24th-place finish in 20:36.8 at sections.
Sophomore Harrison Greathouse earned the Most Improved Award for the boys. Greathouse had the team’s best time among sophomore runners at 17:32. That came at the section meet, where he finished in 17th place individually to help Alexandria take second.
Senior Bennett Wirth and junior Joel Brault shared the Coaches Award for the boys. Both were huge parts of this team all season as Wirth took 14th at the section meet in 17:25.5, and Brault was 11th in 17:14.5. Brault prepared himself for a big season by running 250 summer miles.
Emma Ecker and Taelor Dummer earned the Coaches Award for the girls. Dummer was right with Aleah Miller as the Cardinals’ fastest runners much of the year as a senior. She was ninth at the section meet in 19:49.9, while Ecker, a junior, stepped up big in Bemidji in that last race by being Alexandria’s second fastest finisher. She took fourth overall at sections in 19:29.5.
The Cardinals were solid in the classroom, as well. The boys’ top five on the varsity team had a team GPA of 3.60 as Kleven, Cameron Hochsprung and Wirth were academic all conference.
The girls’ top five had a 3.96 GPA. Dummer, Ecker, Aleah Miller, Giselle Jahner and Brynn Kosters were all-state academic.