St. Michael-Albertville’s boys’ and girls’ cross country teams represented the blue and gold last weekend at the Minnesota State High School League’s State Cross Country Championships. The girls’ varsity team finished third in the state, behind only Wayzata and Edina. In addition, the girls’ team had a top-10 finisher in eighth grade phenom, Ali Weimer, who placed 9th out of the state’s 176 best high school runners in her first state race. Weimer completed the 5-kilometer (3.1 mile) race in 18 minutes 22 seconds, which is a pace of 5:54 per mile. That’s a personal record for her as well as a 5K record-breaking time for the school.
“The state meet was a lot of fun, but I was really nervous before the race,” Weimer said. “Everybody there are all of the top runners in the state. There are a lot of teams and everyone is really fast. There were so many people there to cheer on STMA, so it was very exciting.”
Other outstanding finishers at the state race included junior Annalise Davis, who finished 22nd with a time of 18 minutes 49 seconds, eighth-grader Katie Sigerud, who finished 35th with a time of 19 minutes 5 seconds, and freshman Jessica Immer, finishing 38th with a time of 19 minutes 9 seconds.
Weimer, along with Sigerud and Immer, were all new to the varsity team and the state meet this year, which head coach Heather Strait said balanced out nicely with their more veteran runners, including Davis, Mia Salas, Paige McAloon and Anna Belair.
Strait said this third place showing was the highest ever for STMA girls’ varsity cross country, and she said the team was pretty excited about the results. Last year they took 8th at state, and they initially hoped to just improve on that finish. However, she said the team started to dream even bigger as the season progressed so successfully.
“Going into today the girls were hoping for a podium finish, and they knew they would need to run tough,” she said.
She credits their strong season to a dedicated group of summer runners, saying she felt those pre-season miles definitely impacted the season.
“The girls are a great group to work with,” Strait said. “I know they are excited about what the future holds. It will be fun to have them all back next year to build on the success that they had this year.”
The boys’ varsity team finished 13th of 16 at the state championship race, and they were one of only two Mississippi 8 teams to qualify for the meet. Top runners included junior Carter Knaus in 27th place, with a time of 16 minutes 9 seconds, junior Jonah Breuer in 72nd place, with a time of 16 minutes 37 seconds, and senior Joey Och in 109th with a time of 16 minutes 55 seconds. All of these racers had an average mile pace of under 5.5 minutes per mile.