Albert Lea’s CC teams shine at Winona

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 27, 1999

WINONA – In her stellar varsity career, Melissa Roche has made very few mistakes.

Monday, September 27, 1999

WINONA – In her stellar varsity career, Melissa Roche has made very few mistakes.

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Now a senior, Roche continues to dominate the cross country field. But as she led the pack and as an overall victory was evident in Winona Saturday, Roche took a wrong turn with about 300 yards remaining.

On unfamiliar grounds, Roche realized her error and sprinted to the finish line, passing one of the two runners who were provided with the gift.

But while she didn’t blow her team’s placing – fourth – Roche finished second; this is the first time the Tigers have competed at this Winona course, a true cross country track through the woods and up hills.

&uot;She knows she won the meet,&uot; said Albert Lea coach Dick Montgomery. &uot;She led the whole way. It’s like she gave them a 20-yard head start and then said, ‘Go.’&uot;

Roche finished second in the incredibly, strong 11-team field in a time of 15:48, three seconds behind first place.

Her undeniable lust for victory was evident in her 300-yard sprint to recapture second place, the coach added.

Roche, however, did change the outcome between first and second place.

Because of the wrong turn, LaCrosse Central – ranked No. 2 in Wisconsin – won the meet instead of Winona – ranked No. 5 in Minnesota. Lewiston – Class A No. 3 ranked – finished third with 109 points.

Albert Lea was fourth with 111 points.

&uot;The girls had some stiff competition,&uot; Montgomery said. &uot;They did rather well and took another step forward. The only team we have lost to in our conference is Winona, they should be ranked higher.&uot;

Finishing behind Roche for Albert Lea were Jane Skrlin, 16:51; Karissa Ladlie, 17:20; Angie Schuhmacher, 17:26; Anne Larson, 17:35; Tiffany Truesdell, 17:42; and Michelle Murray, 19:05;

On the boys’ side:

Albert Lea’s Eric Beck placed second overall with a time of 16:37 in the five mile race. Beck led all Albert Lea runners in the team’s third place finish. Winona won the meet with 69 points followed by Hastings with 83. Albert Lea was third with 127 points.

Other Albert Lea times:

Ryan Sundve, 17:23; Ray Besco, 18:11; Joel Busch, 18:12; Matt Bracker, 19:46; Andy Hertges, 19:53; and Adam McDermott, 20:16.

&uot;We were seventh (in the Big Nine),&uot; Montgomery said of the boys’ team. &uot;We have now moved up a couple of notches to fourth or fifth. &uot;The boys took a big step.&uot;

The Tigers travel to Mankato West Thursday for a five-team meet.

West is ranked No. 5 in boys’ cross country.