St. Michael-Albertville boys and girls cross country teams began their regular seasons with impressive showings at the Monticello Invitational Saturday at Betram Lake Regional Park.
The Knight girls captured the varsity team title in dominating fashion, finishing 18 points in front of second place Becker in the 14-team field.
STMA placed four runners in the top 10. Individual medalist, junior Annalise Davis, toured the 5000-meter course in a time of 18:55. Behind Davis was eighth-grader Ali Weimer (3), junior Mia Salas (7), Katie Sigerud (10), Jessica Immer (11), Paige McAloon (13) and Anna Belair (15).
STMA also won the girls junior varsity event, posting a perfect team score of 15 points with all seven runners placing in the top eight.
Kaydan Geiger placed first followed by Gretchen Manderfeld (2), Taylor Petersen (3), Mia Rooker (4), Kyra Geiger (5), Madison Lenarz (6) and Ashlyn McClintock (8).
“We looked good, especially for our first meet of the season,” says head girls coach Heather Straight. “Placing seven girls in the top 15 of a big race like this shows we have some great depth. The girls are working hard in practice and our goal right now is to just keep improving our fitness on a day to basis.”
The Knight boys varsity was also impressive when placing second behind Sartell. Junior Jonah Breuer was edged out of first by less than a second in a photo finish with Sartell’s Alex Nemeth. Junior Carter Knaus finished third in the 13-team field.
Next came Joey Och (13), Michael Youngberg (14), Tommy Hamilton (19), Tyler Bartholomew (23) and Mitch Meilahn (32).
STMA’s boys Junior Varsity also finished runnerup to Sartell. Luke Peterson placed fourth, followed by Spencer Charlesworth (8), Kyle Swenson (9), Tommy Ruhland (12), Jacob Thole (13), Jack Petersen (16) and Alex McAloon (19).
“Our times for our first real meet of the season on a tough course were very impressive to me, especially looking at last year’s times on the same course,” said boys coach Gregg Greeno.
The cross country teams travel to Anoka High School to compete in the Rum River Invitational Thursday, Sept. 14. The varsity boys start at 3:30 p.m. followed by the girls at 4:10 p.m.