The St. Michael-Albertville girls cross country team took home the championship at Saturday’s AA state cross country meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield. This was STMA’s first cross country state championship in school history for either boys or girls.
Freshman Ali Weimer blazed the way for the Knights with a fifth place finish of 18 minutes, 1 second in the 5,000 meter (5 kilometer) race. Freshman Katie Sigerud followed with a 9th place finish of 18.19, and senior Mia Salas got 15th place with a time of 18.35. Other finishers included Jessica Immer (18th), Anna Belair (23rd), Paige McAloon (61st) and Ashlyn McClintock (71st). Weimer, Sigerud and Salas earned All-State Honors.
Last year the STMA girls team placed third, behind Wayzata and Edina. This year they came out on top, with Wayzata in second and Edina in third.
Girls coach, Heather Strait, said the team had back-to-back perfect scores at the conference and sections races. She said they started to embrace the mindset of “why not try for first?” as their successes continued to add up.
“As the season progressed, the girls learned how to race as a team with Ali and Katie out front and rest of the team trying to run as tightly as they could in a pack,” she said. “That pack made a big difference on Saturday.”
Strait said the girls aren’t done yet this season: they will compete next weekend in the Nike Heartland Regional meet in Sioux Falls, SD, which will determine whether or not they will continue on to the Nike National Meet in Portland next month.
Boys Team Finished Strong
Only 16 teams across the state qualify to compete as a team in the state championship race, and STMA boys runners proved themselves to be among the top 10 teams in the state, finishing ninth.
Senior Carter Knauss led the STMA boys team with a 10th place finish in 15.56. Senior Jonah Breuer followed in 35th place with a time of 16.23, and senior Luke Peterson with 58th place at 16.49. Other finishers included Caden Nordberg (66th), Kyle Swenson (67th), Joey Driver (70th) and Tyler Bartholomew (98th). Edina won the boys race, followed by Moundsview and Wayzata.
Head boys coach, Gregg Greeno, said the team hadn’t been mentioned in the state rankings that come out each week all season, which lists the top 12 teams. Despite that, the team made it a goal to finish in the top 10 at the state race.
“We met our goal and I really thought the kids ran great,” Greeno said. “We peaked at the end like we wanted to do and more importantly, the boys really competed hard in finishing strong. We are very proud of them.”