Knight girls cross country team set to defend section title

STMA Girls cross country’s five returning letter winners are, left to right, Rylee Hanson, Tori Hamre, Cortney Woodis, Maddi Sjelin, and Beth Hinkemeyer. (Photo by Bill Halldin)

STMA Girls cross country’s five returning letter winners are, left to right, Rylee Hanson, Tori Hamre, Cortney Woodis, Maddi Sjelin, and Beth Hinkemeyer. (Photo by Bill Halldin)

The St. Michael-Albertville girls cross country team returns five letter-winners from last year’s Section 5AA Championship team that will attempt to defend its title from a year ago.

The Knight returning letter winners are led by 2-time “All-Conference” cross country performer, senior Maddi Sjelin. Sjelin also reached the podium, twice, at last spring’s State “AA” Track Meet in the 800 meters(6th) and 1600 meters(8th) and she competed in the 2011 State cross country meet, last fall, as an individual. Other returning letter winners include, all seniors: Tori Hamre, Rylee Hanson, Beth Hinkemeyer, and Cortney Woodis. Hinkemeyer was “All-Conference” in 2010, while Hamre was “Honorable-Mention All-Conference” in 2011.

Those seniors are also joined by seniors: Taylor Johnson, Cassidy Kottke, Bridget Kruschke, Maddie Malone, and Nicole Westrum. Coach Gregg Greeno begins his 8th year as head boys and girls coach and is assisted by Kevin Crocker and Heather Strait.

Coach Greeno commented, “We have 30 girls in 9th-12th grade, out for cross country, a very good number, so with our good nucleus and some hard work, I think we can develop into a solid team.”

According to Greeno, other veterans that could possibly challenge for a varsity spot, besides the returning seniors, include sophomores, Maddie Jesser, Krista Rambo, Cheyenne Vavrina, and freshman McKenna Rogers. Also, newcomers to the sport that could possibly challenge for varsity, based on early-season workouts, include, Abbie Herbst, Rachel King, Emelia Mounkine, and Karson Sorby. King was 4th in the 3200 meters and 6th in the 1600 meters in the State “AA” Track Meet, last spring.

Also, out for cross country are sophomores: Bobbi Brendefur, Jada Brown, Erin Daly, Jaymie Hansen, Christine Miller, Krista Slavin, Ashley Stecker, and Allie Steffens, along with freshmen: Paige Berning, Elli Hofmeister, Kayla Horn, and Emily Ruhland.

ऀThe team determines the varsity for their first meet Friday Aug. 24, when they host a scrimmage (practice meet) along with teams from Annandale and Rocori.

The “Girls” race is at 10:05 a.m. at the St. Michael Rec. Center. Top 7 STMA girls will make-up the varsity team. The Knights then travel to Milaca for their first actual meet of the season Monday, Aug. 27.

At Milaca, the Girls Varsity race starts at 4:30 p.m. with Girls Junior Varsity beginning at 4:50 p.m.

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