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Track and field: Alexandria boys finish runner-up behind Brainerd at CLC Indoor Meet

With top performances from Venald Becker and others, the Alexandria boys track and field team earned second at the CLC Indoor Meet on Saturday.

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Alexandria's Joel Brault finished runner-up in the 1600m run at the CLC Indoor Meet on April 2, 2022.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

ST. JOSEPH - The Alexandria boys track and field team built off a first-place finish in its first meet of the year in Moorhead a week ago, with a top-two finish at the CLC Indoor Meet at St. John’s University on Saturday.

The Cardinals finished in second place, 15.666 points behind Brainerd.

“I love the way we competed,” Alexandria head coach Mike Empting said. “I thought our kids did a great job getting ready for this track meet. And it's just fun to see them out there competing.”

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Alexandria's Taven Ebnet (right) attempts to stay ahead of a St. Cloud Apollo runner in a meet on April 2, 2022.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Empting said one of the main things he’s looking for in early-season meets like this is how hard the team is competing.

This is also what the girls head coach, Meghan Orgeman, said. Both the Alexandria girls and boys finished second at Saturday’s meet.

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The Cardinals finished well in Saturday’s meet without having some strong athletes in the lineup.

“Will Heydt, he's the returning triple jump state champion and he's recovering from his winter season,” Empting said. “Teagan Pfeffer is coming back from hockey and he just got back with us. Myles Sansted is another one. He’s an outstanding mid-distance runner for us who is coming back from the basketball season. We’ve got some kids who are good leaders and [we have] seniors proven in our program that are going to make us stronger as the season goes.”

These seniors could help lead the team to what is one of the team’s main goals this season, being a title contender at the true team sections.

“We’ve got to just trust the process. We want to be there making a run at true team state,” Empting said. “Then we want to advance as many as we can on to the state meet and hopefully win the outdoor conference [title] along the way. We've been doing this a long time. Our kids believe in what we're doing here and they just got to stick with trusting the training from our whole group of coaches that we have here.”

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Alexandria's Nicholas Borden running in a relay race at the CLC Indoor Meet on April 2, 2022.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Empting said there are a lot of leaders on this team at different position groups.

“Joel Brault has done a great job with our distance group and so has Fequiere Becker in our sprint [group],” Empting said. “In our throws, Joey Lanoux, he’s our captain in that group and he’s doing a great job. Christian Doumbia is another one in our field events who has done just an outstanding job.”

Alexandria placed first in two events on Saturday, both of which Venald Becker was a part of. Becker finished first in the 200m dash (23.91) and in the 4x200m relay with Kelly Johnson, Walker Hennen and Christian Doumbia. Becker also finished fourth (7.42) in the 60-meter dash, behind third-place winner Fequiere Becker (7.38).

Alexandria had three runner-up finishes, from Joel Brault, Dylan Frusciante and Doumbia.

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Brault finished second in the 1600-meter run (4:40.92), just ahead of fourth-place finisher Riley Wagner (4:50.44). Doumbia finished second in the 200 dash (24.15) and Evan Kludt finished eighth (25.46). Frusciante tied for second in the high jump (5-06), while Otto Anderson finished sixth (J5-06). Doumbia also finished third in the long jump (19-02).

Empting said the athletes that have yet to fully return from their winter sports are also great leaders for the team.

“When they get here, they're just going to make our team stronger, not only with their performances but also with their presence and their leadership,” Empting said. “We’ve got strong leadership on this team.”

Empting also listed Matthew Johnson, who placed eighth in the 60-meter dash on Saturday (7.52), as another senior leader for the team.

Sam Williams finished third in the 60 hurdles (9.42), ahead of fourth-place finisher Gavin Ashmore (9.65) and sixth-place finisher Logan Peterson (9.85).

In the 4x800m relay, the team of Payton Gessford, Throck Lehman, Hunter Mohr and Maxwell Chin earned fourth with a time of 9:34.66.

Rounding out Alexandria’s top-five finishes, Trey Negen finished fifth in the 60-meter dash (7.45) and Evan Moore placed fifth in the 800-meter run (2:20.93).

In addition to upperclassmen performing well, Empting was happy with the performances by some of the team’s younger athletes.

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“We’ve got a lot of good young kids coming up that are going to be contributors to our program here for a long time and it's going to be exciting,” Empting said. “I have some freshmen that are just starting to join our team who had long winter seasons as well, that I'm really excited to see.”

Empting spoke highly of Hennen, a sophomore who just started his first season on the track team. He also spoke highly of Venald Becker, Frusciante and Anderson.

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Alexandria's Walker Hennen ran at the CLC Indoor Meet on April 2, 2022. Hennen is a sophomore and is out for the track season for the first time.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

“We’ve got some kids that I think are going to really do a nice job,” Empting said.

Alexandria is back at home for a meet on Thursday at 4 p.m.

CLC Indoor Meet

TEAM SCORES - Brainerd, 126; Alexandria, 110.33; Fergus Falls, 69.33; Willmar, 57; Sartell, 55; St. Cloud Tech, 51.33; Rocori, 43, St. Cloud Apollo, 38

ALEXANDRIA TOP-EIGHT SCORERS - 4x800m relay - 4th place - Payton Gessford, Throck Lehman, Hunter Mohr, Maxwell Chin (9:34.86), 60m hurdles - 3rd place - Samuel Williams (9.42); 4th place - Gavin Ashmore (9.65); 6th place - Logan Peterson (9.85); 60m dash - 3rd place - Fequiere Becker (7.38); 4th place - Venald Becker (7.42); 5th place - Trey Negen (7.45); 8th place - Matthew Johnson (7.52); 1600m run - 2nd place - Joel Brault (4:40.92), 4th place - Riley Wagner (4:50.44); 4x200 m relay - 1st place - Venald Becker, Kelly Johnson, Walker Hennen, Christian Doumbia (1:39.02); 800 m run - 5th place - Evan Moore (2:20.93); 200 m dash - 1st place - Venald Becker (23.91), 2nd place - Christian Doumbia (24.15), 8th place - Evan Kludt (25.46); 3200m run - 7th place - Harrison Greathouse (11:04.25), 8th place - Landon Runge (11:07.97); 4x400 m relay - 6th place - Gavin Ashmore, Daniel Jackson, Jordan Nicholson, Nicholas Borden (4:02.80); Shot Put - 7th place - Joseph Lanoux (45-10.00); High Jump - T2nd place - Dylan Frusciante (5-06.00), 6th place - Otto Anderson (J5-06.00); Pole Vault - 6th place - Samuel Williams (9-06.00); Long Jump - 3rd place - Christian Doumbia (19-02.00), 5th place - Kelly Johnson (18-09.50)

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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