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Cross country: Alexandria back as contenders for boys, girls

The Cardinals lost three runners who are all now competing collegiately this coming school year, but the depth of the boys and girls programs should help Alexandria contend near the top of the conference and section again this year.

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Alexandria's Landon Runge (857) tries to catch up to St. Cloud Apollo's Jackson Gerads at the end of the Class AA boys state cross-country championship race at St. Olaf College in Northfield during the 2021 season. Runge is back as a junior this fall to help lead the Alexandria boys in cross country.
Joe Brown / Forum News Service
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ALEXANDRIA — The Alexandria cross country teams consistently put together competitive rosters, and the Cardinals will look to prove their depth this season after losing some talented seniors in 2021.

Joel Brault was the leader of the boys’ program last fall, and Aleah Miller and Emma Ecker paced the field for the girls in most meets. All three are running collegiately, but head coach Travis Hochhalter is confident that the runners back are ready to step in now to lead the way.

“We have a bunch of returning girls with some support. If we stay healthy, we should be a contender for top two in section and beyond,” Hochhalter said. “The girls are young with lots of veterans, talented, great, amazing leaders and great at working hard.

“For the boys, we surprised some teams last year and are working off of last year with a bit of added strength after losing a bit of leadership. It will be a great year to rebuild again and let our new leaders show how tough we can be.”

The boys team returns Landon Runge, Harrison Greathouse, Tom Wilmesmeier, Luke Panther, Nolan Peterson, Throck Lehman, and Karl Franson as athletes who all have various levels of varsity experience. The girls have Giselle Jahner, Brynn Kosters, Jaelyn Miller, Bobbi Nichols, and Brynn Cross to lean on.

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Hochhalter said Kasey Soderholm, Brooklyn Jurchenko and Citori Halbe on the girls’ side, and Payton Guessford, and Riley Wagner for the boys, have opportunities to step into varsity roles.

“The boys have a couple of talented seniors to lead this group,” Hochhalter said. “This group showed us they are willing to work hard during the season from last year.”

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Alexandria’s Amanda Bergerson runs at the 2021 Lions Meet of Champions in Alexandria. Bergerson is back as a senior this fall season to help lead the Cardinals in cross country.
Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press

Hochhalter likes the experience and leadership qualities of his returning athletes for the girls, and is excited about the young talent in the program.

“They are smart, fun girls that are willing to work,” Hochhalter said of his girls’ team. “They are super talented, and have six of eight back from last year with lots more freshmen talent.”

Hochhalter views Rocori, Willmar and Brainerd as the programs that the Alexandria girls will be competing with at the top of the Central Lakes Conference. Brainerd, Sartell, Fergus Falls, Willmar and Alexandria should all fight for top spots in the CLC on the boys’ side.

Hochhalter said Alexandria, Willmar and Rocori look like the teams fighting for top finishes in Section 8AA for the girls, and Fergus Falls, Alexandria, Willmar, Pequot Lakes and Rocori make for a deep field on the boys’ side of the section.

“We have a tough section, but will do everything in our power to put together teams that will be successful throughout the season,” Hochhalter said.

2022 ALEXANDRIA CROSS COUNTRY

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BOYS ROSTER - SENIORS - Harrison Greathouse, Luke Panther, Nolan Peterson, Berg Swanson, Riley Wagner; JUNIORS - Karl Franson, Connor Garrison, Payton Gessford, Owen Jensen, Throck Lehman, Nicholae Meyers, Hunter Mohr, Khelden Ritter, Landon Runge, Thomas Wilmesmeier; SOPHOMORES - Erick Bergerson, Maxwell Chinn, Myles Frueh, Zachary Richards, Cooper Running, Micah Walswick; FRESHMEN - Jackson Dutcher, Nicholas Hamann, Elijah Kjolhaug, Hudson Nyberg

GIRLS ROSTER - SENIORS - Amanda Bergerson, Annabella Delagarza, Emma Hochhalter, Giselle Jahner, Hailey Klimek, Brynn Kosters, Mattie Scholten; JUNIORS - Brynn Cross, Madeline Hochhalter, Jaelyn Miller, Anna Revering; SOPHOMORES - Abigail Brault, Bobbi Nichols, Kasey Soderholm; FRESHMEN - Citori Halbe, Quinn Hills, Brooklyn Jurchenko, Ainsleigh Lehmann, Isabella Nei, McKenna Ostendorf

COACHES - Head coach - Travis Hochhalter, 8th season; Assistant coaches - Nikki Paradis, Pat Dougherty

ALEXANDRIA CROSS COUNTRY SCHEDULE

Sept. 2 - Brainerd Meet, 10 a.m.

Sept. 8 - Detroit Lakes Meet, 4 p.m.

Sept. 15 - Little Falls Meet, 4 p.m.

Sept. 22 - Cold Spring Meet, 4:15 p.m

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Sept. 29 - Fergus Falls Meet, 4 p.m.

Oct. 8 - Alexandria meet at Arrowwood, 10 a.m.

Oct. 18 - CLC Championships at Fergus Falls, 4 p.m.

Oct. 27 - Section Meet at Arrowwood, 3:30 boys, 4:15 girls

Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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