Tigers compete in Ev Berg Invite as season nears end

Published 2:17 pm Friday, October 8, 2021

The Albert Lea boys’ and girls’ cross country teams got a preview of the course they will compete on in a little over a week at the Big Nine Conference meet when they traveled to Owatonna Thursday for the Ev Berg Invitational.

The boys’ team recorded season best times for all five of its scoring runners, and the girls continued to show improvement as well.

The boys were led by junior Gavin Hanke who came in 13th place overall with a time of 16:48.64. He was followed by sophomore Isaiah McGaffey and junior Pacey Brekke, who finished in 52nd and 58th places, respectively. McGaffey had a time of 18:04.01 and Brekke had a time of 18:23.38.

Rounding out the scoring for the Tigers was junior Luke Wangsness in 70th place with a time of 18:43.92, and senior Henrik Lange in 74th place with a time of 18:46.97.

Also running for Albert Lea, but missing out on the team score, were eight grader Ty Stout in 79th place with a time of 19:03.18 and junior Patrick Holcomb in 82nd place with a time of 19:18.18.

Head coach Jim Haney said the nine-day layoff since their last meet helped them prepare for the challenge of this meet.

“During the nine-day layoff we have concentrated on the speed impact of racing long distance,” Haney said. “We will look for continued progress of team and individual goals in the coming weeks and we have set ourselves the opportunity to challenge for a section title. We have plenty of work to do in order for a section title, but we have the opportunity to do this.”

The boys came in 11th place out of 13 teams, but beat two of the three teams from their section.

The girls’ team did not field enough runners to compete in the team event but got some solid times out of its three runners.

Junior Jai Maligaya was the top-finishing Tiger, coming in 51st place with a time of 21:28.67.Freshman Mya Hanke came in 58th with a time of 21:56.73, and seventh grader Elle Schulz came in 63rd place with a time of 22:21.21.

“Jai did an outstanding job and had a tremendous finish for the girls,” Haney said. “The coaching staff is proud of her effort and will look for her and the rest of the girls team to continue to improve.”

The Tigers have one more meet before their Big Nine Conference meet. The final regular season meet will take place Tuesday in Austin.

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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