• 36°

3 Albert Lea runners named to All-Conference, All-Conference honorable mention

The Albert Lea boys’ and girls’ cross country teams traveled to Owatonna Thursday and Friday for the Big Nine Conference meets. 

The girls’ completed Thursday afternoon and came in 12th place in the conference. Sophomore Jai Maligaya was once again the top finisher for the girls’ team, coming in 48th place with a time of 22:17.13. Finishing shortly after Maligaya were seventh grader Hanna Austinson and eight grader Shelby Evans. Austinson came in 58th place with a time of 22:57.45 and Evans came in 65th place with a time of 23:21.88. 

Rounding out the scoring members of the team were junior Aliyah Studier in 74th place and senior Jaiden Venem in 77th place. Studier finished with a time of 24:58.97 and Venem finished in 25:39.86. 

Also running for the Tigers was senior Kat Uthke, who finished in 80th place with a time of 26:59.43 and eighth grader Mya Henke, who came in 81st place with a time of 27:47.51. 

“As a team we finished 12th,” said head coach Jim Haney. “This will serve as motivation for next year as we are a young team and we will take the experience from this year and use it for our motivation next season. The girls’ are a great bunch and the coaching staff is proud of how much they improved during the season.”

The boys’ team had their turn Friday afternoon and came in sixth place, while also naming one runner to the All-Conference team and two to the honorable mention team. 

Sophomore Gavin Hanke led the way, coming in 15th place overall with a time of 17:37.55. Seniors Aaron Bauers and Logan Barr were not far behind, finishing in 20th and 25th places, respectively. Bauers with a time of 17:50.59 and Barr with a time of 17:59.57. 

Also in Albert Lea’s top five were freshman Isaiah McGaffrey, who came in 65th with a time of 19:47.79 and junior Mason Buendorf in 72nd place with a time of 20:13.45. 

Sophomore Pacey Brekke and junior Blake Christensen also ran for the Tigers. Brekke came in 78th with a time of 21:08.33 and Christensen came in 81st with a time of 21:51.31. 

Hanke was named an All-Conference runner, while Bauers and Barr were named to the honorable mention list. 

The competitive level of the team was outstanding,” Haney said. “The boys wanted to do well and they did. Overall the team had to wait for all the teams to compete to find out the team and individual place. The boys team was seeded eighth and to finish above our seed is a tribute to the time and effort these young men have put in during a very different cross country season.”

The Tigers next scheduled meet is the Section 1AA championship set for Thursday in Owatonna.

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

email author More by Tyler