Albert Lea cross country teams race at home to open their season
For the first time in 19 years, the Albert Lea boys’ and girls’ cross country teams ran a home meet Thursday afternoon.
With the course set up at Bancroft Bay Park, the Tigers did not disappoint against the Wingers of Red Wing, as the boys’ team won the matchup and the girls ran a strong race against the defending Big Nine Conference champions.
First up was the varsity boys’ race, which saw the Tigers dominate their way to a 18-39 victory. Sophomore Gavin Hanke finished in first place overall with a time of 19:58.9. Seniors Logan Barr and Aaron Bauers came in second and third place, respectively, with Barr finishing with a time of 20:22.1 and Bauers finishing with a time of 20:44.2.
The first Red Wing finished in fourth place, however, Albert Lea sophomore Patrick Holcomb finished shortly behind in fifth place with a time of 21:39.9.
“The boys went out and dominated the race,” said head coach Jim Haney, “The boys spent a great deal of time this summer running and working out and it appears to have worked out as we had a strong showing. The boys will continue to improve as we get more training and have cooler weather. The coaching staff is so proud of these boys and are excited to see the improvement they will make in the coming weeks.”
In the girls’ varsity race, Albert Lea had a strong showing with four runners in the top 10. Sophomore Jai Maligaya was the top finisher for the Tigers, coming in fifth place overall with a time of 25:58.0. She was followed by eighth grader Shelby Evans, who came in sixth place with a time of 27:16.7.
Rounding out the top 10 was sophomore Karime Ponciano and eighth grader Mya Hanke, who finished ninth and 10th, respectively. Ponciano finished with a time of 27:44.6 and Hanke finished with a time of 27:57.8.
“The coaching staff are very happy with how the girls competed against Red Wing,” Haney said. “Red Wing has a very strong girls’ team as they were Big Nine champions last year. The girls packed up very nicely … The girls will continue to improve with more training. This is a very good girls’ team and they will be a factor in the Big Nine.”
The boys move to 1-0 and the girls move to 0-1 in competition this year. The teams will be back in action Tuesday afternoon when they travel to Austin to run against the Packers.