A.L. boys’ cross country finishes 11th; girls continue to improve

Published 3:40 pm Friday, September 17, 2021

The Albert Lea boys’ and girls’ cross country teams took to Rochester Thursday afternoon for the Mayo Invitational at Rochesster Eastwood Golf Course.

The boys’ team came in 11th place out of 24 teams, and while the girls didn’t have enough runners to fill out a complete team, they continue to improve upon their best times of the season.

Leading the way for the boys’ team was junior Gavin Hanke, who finished in 16th place with a time of 17:19.03. Sophomore Isaiah McGaffey was the second-best finisher for the team, finishing in 57th place  with a time of 18:38.29. Junior Pacey Brekke came in 83rd with a time of 19:40.88.

Rounding out the scoring for the Tigers was junior Luke Wangsness in 86th place with a time of 19:45.69 and senior Henrik Lange in 87th place with a time of 19:54.92.

Also running for the Tigers but missing out on the team score were junior Patrick Holcomb in 92nd place with a time of 19:49.67 and senior Mason Buendorf in 123rd place with a time of 21:01.60.

The boys’ team score of 329 was good enough to land them in 11th place overall.

“The coaching staff is encouraged as the team went into this meet with the goal of beating all the teams in the section that ran in this race, and we were able to accomplish this goal,” said head coach Jim Haney. “Now the goal is to continue to do this in upcoming meets — this is the mark of a team that wants to run at state.  Not being satisfied in beating the competition in the section in one race, but to continue doing so. The coaching staff believes that with continued training and growing confidence we can do this.”

On the girls’ side, the Tigers were led by junior Jai Maligaya, finishing in 36th place with a time of 21:58.25. Senior Aliyah Studier came in 98th with a time of 24:26.22 and freshman Mya Hanke finished in 118th with a time of 25:55.94.

Haney said the course in Rochester is the toughest course the team will see this season and was impressed with how the girls competed.

“The girls ran their best race of the season and were very impressive,” Haney said. “ Jai battled some of the top runners in the state. She has become a very strong runner who has continued to improve every year. She has very high goals, and the coaching staff believes that she will achieve these goals.”

The Tigers will compete again Tuesday in their only home meet of the season at Bancroft Bay Park.

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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