The St. Michael-Albertville varsity girls cross country team found a place on the podium today, finishing third in the Minnesota State AA Cross Country Championships.
The Knights had two finishers place in the state’s top 10 runners. STMA’s number one runner, Ali Weimer, crossed the finish line in fourth place with a time of 18.00. Katie Sigerud was close behind in 9th place at 18.24.
Other scoring runners included Paige McAloon in 39th at 19.04, Emma Windingland in 49th in 19.09 and Anna Belair in 68th place in 19.17. Avery O’Rourke placed 100th and Jessica Immer in 106th out of 176 runners.
“The girls ran well today,” Head Coach Heather Strait said. “Their goal was to make the podium (top 3) and they felt good about accomplishing that. After a few ups and downs, it was fun to watch them put it all together at State.”
Strait said there were some very strong teams at the race and she was proud of her team’s efforts in competing against them.
The STMA girls had been ranked 8th in the state before winning the Section Championships last week, and after that they were ranked fourth. However, top-ranked Stillwater finished behind STMA at the race with a fifth place finish. Edina took home the championship with 55 points, and Wayzata placed second with 109 points. STMA wasn’t far behind for third with 115 points.
Individual Boys Results
STMA also ran two varsity boys in the State Championships this morning. Caden Nordberg finished in 60th place with a time of 16.35, and Kyle Swenson placed 119th of 174 runners with a time of 17.03. Boys Head Coach, Gregg Greeno, said Nordberg placed among the top STMA sophomores ever to race at the state level. Only two other STMA sophomore boys, Chase Cayo and Jonah Breuer, finished in slightly higher places at that age. He said he was proud of his runners’ performances at today’s race.
St. Michael-Albertville boys and girls cross country teams competed in the Section 5AA race last Thursday afternoon in Anoka. The girls dominated with a first place finish for the sixth year in the row, and boys took 5th of 16 teams.
The top two teams at the section meet earn a spot at the state race, which means the girls team is headed to state on Nov. 2. While they didn’t earn a team place at state, the boys team had two runners qualify for state as individuals: sophomore Caden Nordberg and senior Kyle Swenson.
The girls team swept the first three places in their 5 kilometer race, with sophomore Ali Weimer leading the pack with a time of 17 minutes, 49 seconds (that’s an average pace of 5.45 minute miles). Sophomore Katie Sigerud placed second in 18.27, and senior Paige McAloon got third with 18.42. Other scoring runners for the varsity girls team included freshman Emma Windingland in seventh place and senior Emma Belair in 10th.
The reigning state champion girls team is currently ranked 8th in the state. Head coach Heather Strait said the team hasn’t been able to perform as well as last year at some of the year’s bigger meets. The team’s top runner, Weimer, currently ranks 5th in the state as an individual.
Strait said a lot has changed in the past six years of being Section Champions, as girls still ran a 4 kilometer race at that time. One of their team’s senior captains, McAloon, is running in the state meet for the 6th time since she has been running for STMA’s varsity team since seventh grade.
Strait said this has been a good season for the girls but has had its ups and downs with illnesses and iron levels. She said moving to the Lake Conference has been tough, but that it’s beneficial for them to compete against nationally ranked teams during their regular season.
“The girls were so happy to come together and perform well at sections,” Strait said. “They really love the course at Anoka, and the weather was perfect on Thursday.”
Strait said two seniors, McAloon and Anna Belair, are ready to give it all they’ve got for their final state meet appearance. On the other side of the equation, she said two freshmen with “incredible potential,” Windingland and Avery O’Rourke, are running state for the first time. They are joined by Weimer, Sigerud and junior Jessica Immer to complete the seven-member team for Saturday’s race.
The boys team has made it to state as a team the past two years, but this year just Nordberg and Swenson will represent STMA for the boys. Nordberg finished in 13th place in the section race with a time of 16.25 (average pace of 5.18 minute miles), and Swenson finished 16th in 16.34. Other scoring members for the varsity team included junior Joey Driver with 17.12, freshman Zak Wise in 17.27 and senior Alex McAloon in 17.53.
“We graduated a lot of talent last year, but from my standpoint, we have had a very gratifying season,” Head Coach Gregg Greeno said. The team graduated five of its top seven runners last year.
Greeno said the boys ran “very well” on Thursday to achieve their fifth place finish, with many personal records set for the boys team that day.
“Less than half of the cross country teams in the state are represented at the state meet, and our boys team has been represented now for the past 17 consecutive seasons at the state meet by our team and/or individual(s),” Greeno said. “We are excited for our STMA runners to compete at state this coming weekend.”
The MSHSL State Cross Country race takes place Saturday, Nov. 12 at St. Olaf College in Northfield. The girls race starts at 10 a.m. and the boys run at 11:00.