Updates from Upperclassmen: Cross country: The road to success

Published 8:00 pm Friday, October 21, 2022

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Updates from Upperclassmen by Luke Wangsness, Trey Shaw and Joey Maiden

Last year Albert Lea cross country ran their way to the top and made it to the state conference, and this year has been no different. The varsity boys’ team is currently ranked second in our section, with one point behind Winona. Mr. Haney, the Albert Lea cross country coach, said his goal for the team at sections is to perform to the best of their ability, and hopefully that’s good enough to take us to state. There are high hopes that the boys’ team will make it to state again this year. Both the boys’ and girls’ teams have had massive improvement over the season and are excited for the rest of the upcoming season. Cross country broke out of the shadows last year with their trip to state and people took notice. The hope is to do the same this year, but above all, run the best they can and enjoy what is for many of the varsity athletes their final season on the Albert Lea team. 

Most of our seniors have been with the team since seventh or eighth grade and have become close with each other, not only as teammates, but also friends. One of these seniors is Gavin Hanke, who is the reigning Section 1AA champion. He holds lots of promise to maintain his dominance in our section. He has had multiple scouts come and try to recruit him for their colleges. Hanke has hopes to run in college but hasn’t committed to one yet.  Hanke has a lot of passion for cross country and will definitely make an incredible college athlete. He is currently ranked 11th in the state, with his incredible time of 15:59, and continues to be ranked as No. 1 in our section this season. Another standout runner on the cross country team is Luke Wangsness; he is a senior as well and is going on his sixth consecutive year of running. “Luke was not always the fastest runner on the team, but it has been incredible to watch his determination pay off the last few years,” said Joey Maiden, the cross country manager. Luke is our fifth runner on the boys’ varsity team, getting a personal record running a 17:35 at our Big nine meet in Owatonna. He has also had scouts reaching out to him but is unsure if he will run in college. These are just two of the seven dedicated seniors on the Albert Lea cross county team. 

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Fall of 2020 was the first time Albert Lea had a home cross country meet in 18 years, but only two years later, we have the opportunity to host three meets including sections. We invite the community to celebrate and cheer on the cross country team on Oct. 27. The girls varsity team will compete at 2 p.m. and the boys run at 2:50 p.m. The meet will be at Bancroft Bay. There’s little room to park at Bancroft, so we ask you to park at the high school where a shuttle will pick up spectators and bring them to the meet. The weather will be cold so remember to dress warm and bring your Tiger spirit. Some runners struggle to hear cheering, so  ringing cowbells is a great way to show support, along with cheering. Colorful and fun signs are another great way to cheer on the cross country runners as they fight to pull out a win. Albert Lea has a real shot of winning sections and going to state for the second year in a row.  Come out and support the cross country team as we host the section meet this season. 

Luke Wangsness, Trey Shaw and Joey Maiden are seniors at Albert Lea High School.