It was a clean sweep for the St. Michael-Albertville Boys and Girls cross country teams at the Earlybird Invitational Cross Country Meet at Milaca in their season opening competition Monday, Aug. 27.
The Knights won all four of the contested races including Boys Varsity, Girls Varsity, Boys Junior Varsity, and Girls Junior Varsity.
Senior Brendan Sage led the Knight boys to the title, in the 13-team race, by placing 2nd individually in a time of 16 minutes 53 seconds, in the 5K. Sophomore Chase Cayo was the Knights’ second runner, placing 5th overall, in a time of 17:32, junior Dominic Shovelain placed 7th overall(17:56), while sophomores Christian Eiynck(9th-18:04) and Jake Monseth(16th-18:25) rounded out the Knights’ “top 5”. Senior Derek Johanson(17th-18:26) and sophomore Alec Birk(28th-19:15) completed the 7 varsity runners for the team. STMA’s 33 points topped the runnerup team, Chisago Lake’s team total of 92 points, followed by Little Falls-97, Albany-105, Mora-132, Big Lake-155, Hinckley-Finlayson-195, Rush City-233, North Branch-235, Becker-247, Pine City-253, and Foley and Milaca were incomplete.
The Knight varsity girls scored 58 points ahead of runnerup, Big Lake-98 points, to lead the girls’ team competition, which was comprised of 15-teams. The team was led by sophomore Rachel King(2nd) and senior Maddi Sjelin(4th) with times of 15:25 and 15:35, respectively, for the 4K race. King’s time of 15 minutes 25 seconds lands her 5th on STMA Girls “All-time” fastest 4K times. Maddi Sjelin tops that list with a time of 15:03, from last season.
Sophomore Abbie Herbst was the team’s third runner, placing 14th individually in a time of 17:20, with seniors Tori Hamre(16th-17:26) and Rylee Hanson(22nd-17:49) rounding out the “top 5”. Seniors Beth Hinkemeyer placed 26th-16:58 and Cassidy Kottke placed 34th-18:20 in the varsity race that had 78 finishers.
In junior varsity competition the Knights girls scored a perfect 15 points to capture the team title ahead of runnerup, Little Falls-67 points. A perfect score means that a team(STMA) had the first five individuals in the race. Senior, Knight Taylor Johnson won the individual 4K race title in a time of 18 minutes 35 seconds, followed by teammates: Cortney Woodis(19:21), Emilia Mounkine(19:26), Jaymie Hansen(19:33), and Nicole Westrum(19:39). The Knight girls had 14 girls place in the “top 20” of the race. Other STMA runners that placed in the “top 20” included: Cheyenne Vavrina(7th-19:41), Bobbi Brendefur(8th-19:42), Krista Slavin(9th-19:57), Krista Rambo(12th-20:17), Emily Ruhland(14th-20:22), Bridget Kruschke(15th-20:39), Karson Sorby(17th-20:51), Maddie Jesser(18th-21:12), and Maddie Malone(20th-21:54).
In the 5K JV Boys race, STMA won the team title with a low score of 31 points besting runnerup Little Falls-96 points. Junior Luke Pelant placed 3rd individually as the top Knights’ finisher, followed by Jeremy Goude(4th-19:37), Michael Campbell(6th-19:59), Jason Colgrove
8th-20:04), and Nick Gullickson(10th-20:10), as the scorers for the team. Other Knight boys placing in the “top 20” included: Jack Nadeau(11th-20:13) and Nick Washatka(15th-20:30).
The STMA Cross Country teams next compete at the Monticello Invitational at Vintage Golf Course Thursday Sept. 6.
Coach Greeno commented, “It was a good start to the season. We had lots of good efforts and some nice surprises by both newcomers and experienced runners. The big thing now is to build on our good start and to just keep improving and becoming more fit throughout the season. The competition will get tougher in the meets ahead.”