Austin girls run one-two at West Invite
MANKATO — The Austin High boys and girls cross country teams ran on a different course than usual in the Mankato West Invitational on Tuesday.
Due to recent flooding at the Land of Memories Park, the normal site of this meet, the teams had to instead run up above the river valley in North Mankato.
The move to Dakota Meadows didn't seem to affect the times of Haley Splinter and McKenzie Besel from Austin. Splinter finished first in the girls meet and Besel was second with a new personal best time.
Overall, the Austin girls team finished third in the meet. Jackson County Central won the girls team tally and the host West Scarlets finished in second-place.
"They had to move the meet, and the folks from West did a good job of putting together a new course," Austin coach Tony Einertson said. "It was a nice day to run and the course was relatively flat, so the girls had pretty good times."
Splinter cruised ahead of the field with a winning time of 15;33.6. Besel was next to the cross the finish line, although she was 25-plus seconds behind Splinter. Madison Overby of the Packers finished in eighth-place.
"We were up at the Milaca Mega Meet last Saturday and Haley hurt her foot a little bit, so she ran a smart race trying not to aggravate the injury," coach Einertson said. "She pulled away down the stretch and won in convincing fashion.
"McKenzie ran a personal best and it was exciting for both of the girls to finish one-two. Madison didn't feel real good, so she could've been higher. We still need to close gap with the other runners if the team scores are to get better, but they're making progress."
Austin High also finished third on the day for team scores in the boys meet. Mankato West with 40 won the event, Rochester John Marshall at 73 was second, and Austin finished with 77 team points.
Zach Fadness was the highest individual finisher for the Austin boys in ninth-place. Nate Schwab, Max Gillen, and Dylan Diekmann of the Packers all finished among the top 20.
"We knew West had a good team, but it's been back and forth with JM throughout the season and we have comparable teams," Einertson said. "The boys are training through this week and didn't rest too much for this meet. Also there were a couple of our normal guys who didn't run due to sickness and that hurt us in the team score."
The Packers runners are now be off until a week from Thursday when they compete in the Owatonna Invitational. In the spirit of homecoming, the cross country runners will spend the rest of this week running the football from Mankato West back to Austin for the Friday night game.
"We're off for a week and need time just to get in some basic training, so this is a way to get the cross country team involved in the homecoming activities," the coach concluded. "We'll head out (Wednesday) and try to get in 15-20 miles. We'll do the same distance on Thursday and then run all day on Friday to get the ball to the football team by game time."
MANKATO WEST INVITATIONAL
Mankato West 40, Rochester John Marshall 73, Austin 77, Mankato East 80, Jackson County Central 89.
9. Zach Fadness 17:42.0; 13. Nate Schwab 17:59.9; 16. Max Gillen 18:16.8; 17. Dylan Diekmann 18:22.1; 22. Andrew Baker 18:59.1; 23. Gerardo Sandoval-Ortiz 19:03.8; 27. Finnegan Logan 19:13.2.
Jackson County Central 48, Mankato West 59, Austin 63, Mankato East 69, Rochester John Marshall 102
1. Haley Splinter 15:33.6; 2. McKenzie Besel 16:00.4; 8. Madison Overby 16:39.3; 24. Kaitlyn Carrol 18:27.2; 28. Annissa Zynda 18:44.7; 30. Martha McDermott 18:48.0; 32. Lauren Thompson 18:52.2.