CC teams end season that almost never was

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 25, 2002

OWATONNA &045; The season that almost wasn’t came to a conclusion Thursday.

The Albert Lea High School cross country teams, earmarked for elimination by budget reductions a year ago, ended the 2002 campaign with the Section 1AA meet. Though the boys finished 15th and the girls last among 16 schools at Owatonna’s Brooktree Golf Course, first-year head coach Jim Haney was pleased with the progress of his young squads.

&uot;This has been an outstanding season for Albert Lea cross country,&uot; said Haney. &uot;Cross country was almost eliminated, but the parents and students put together a fund-raising effort to bring the sport back. We held car washes, a community talent show and a pancake breakfast. I think the runners learned a great deal, like doing things that are important that are worth saving. They learned about themselves and what is important to them.&uot;

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Places and times for the ALHS boys Thursday: Sean Harms, 52nd, 17:43.0; Casey Ciffra, 86th, 18:38.4; Josh Anderson, 91st, 18:47.7; Andrew Irvine, 92nd, 18:50.2; Levi Budd, 93rd, 18:51.1. Also running were Scott Johnson, 21:32; Josh Klapperick,, 21:36; Eric Bowron, 22:22; Drew Klick, 22:35; Jordan Skophammer, 23:29.

Albert Lea girls’ places and times: Ellen Vandersyde, 69th, 17:13.5; Anna Keesling, 70th, 17:16.2; Vanessa Storlie, 91st, 18:02.3; Rachel Antinozzi, 97th, 18:39.9; Frances O’Donnell, 108th, 20:24.9. Others who ran: Kyra Danneker, 19:38; Heidi Czplewski, 20:22; Ziva Danneker, 21:11.

&uot;Both the boys and girls put together their best race of the year,&uot; said Haney. &uot;I was impressed by the effort the runners put forth to bring down their times. I was especially proud of Casey Ciffra and Anna Keesling. Both ran outstanding races, dropping close to one minute off their previous best time. Both the boys and girls looked like they were ready to compete and had run attacking the course.&uot;

And, according to Haney, those runners expect better things next year.

&uot;They indicated they were not satisfied with the achievements of the year,&uot; said Haney. &uot;They intend to run in the summer and be ready for day one of practice. The goal should be to run 2002 times at the start of the 2003 season.&uot;