AUSTIN EDITION Finally, Packers have complete girls team
Munk, Bowers back from last year's cross country squad
By Guy N. Limbeck
Austin is a team this year in girls cross country. A real team.
Last year the Packers had just three runners and were not able to field a complete team. This year Austin has seven girls out for cross country. Each cross country team is allowed to race seven runners per meet and the top five count toward the team score.
"It's been a long time since we've had seven girls out," Austin coach Tony Einertson said. "And we have a pretty solid seven this year."
Einertson, in his sixth season with the Packers, has reason for optimism as sophomores Katie Munk and Natalie Bowers return. Munk placed third in the Big Nine meet a year ago and was 13th in the Section 1AA meet with time of around 15:30.
"She wants to go to state this year," Einertson said. But the coach adds "we're in a tough section," with state-ranked Rochester Century, Owatonna and Lakeville.
Bowers was about 30th in the conference last year and 40th in the section. She had a strong offseason, logging more than 400 miles this summer.
"She's looking good," Einertson said. "She's in tremendous shape."
Molly Thatcher is the only senior. She is out for cross country for the first time after playing soccer last fall. She also runs track at Austin.
"She's a wonderful addition to the team," Einertson said.
The others out for the squad are sophomore Ashley Bumgardner and freshmen Mary Claire Chao, Megan Wilson and Michelle Dammen.
"We're very young, but we're building the program," Einertson said. "The exciting thing is it's going to be a pretty good squad."
Einertson says the Packers hope to finish in the middle of the pack in the Big Nine. Century, ranked fifth in the state, and Owatonna, ranked in the top 15, are the league favorites.
The Packers open with a home meet today at 4 p.m. at Ramsey Golf Course.
AUSTIN GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Senior -- Molly Thatcher. Sophomore -- Natalie Bowers*#, Ashley Bumgardner, Katie Munk.*# Freshmen -- Mary Claire Chao, Michelle Dammen, Megan Wilson.
* -- Returning letterwinners. # -- Team captain
Aug. 26 -- Hayfield, Albert Lea, Owatonna at Austin Invite, 4 p.m.
Aug. 30 -- at St. Olaf Invitational, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 3 -- at Hayfield Invitational, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 6 -- at Faribault Invitational, 4 p.m.
Sept. 10 -- at Lakeville Invitational, 4 p.m.
Sept. 12 -- at Mayo Invitational, 4 p.m.
Sept. 21 -- at Princeton Invitational, 10 a.m.
Sept. 24 -- at Kato Invitational, 4 p.m.
Oct. 3 -- at Owatonna Invitational, 4 p.m.
Oct. 8 -- at Austin Invitational, 4 p.m.
Oct. 15 -- Big Nine Meet at Owatonna, 4 p.m.
Oct. 24 -- Section 1AA Meet at Owatonna, 3 p.m.
Nov. 2 -- Class AA State Meet at Northfield, TBA