I have three sporting events in the queue right now, so I’ve decided to combine two of them. The football game won’t take up a lot of space – because I was late arriving and made up for it by leaving early. And cross-country, though I was there the whole time, just takes a matter of minutes for completion. So, first up . . .
[The morning of the first section football game dawned sunny and . . . leafless! This was Tuesday as our Cards were hosting St. Cloud Tech.]
[I actually didn’t arrive until a few minutes were left in the first quarter. I had been taking a Community Education class across the street at Grand Arbor, and when you come out of their lobby you’re looking right across the street at the Cardinal side of the football stadium. There were very few fans there. It wasn’t that cold, but it was the second of what was to be three straight days of gale force winds. As the supervisor says, “I didn’t mind moving to Minnesota because of the cold, but I never realized it was always windy!”]
[The Cards were up 7 – 0 on a short field TD after a Tiger turnover, and here we had another short field after an interception and return.]
[The Cards scored again on a short pass catch and run by Justin Cumberbatch. 🙂 ]
[Tech has a sophomore quarterback and a sophomore halfback who were both very impressive on this drive . . . ]
[They will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.]
[Well, that’s it for football. The Tigers had the ball for what seemed the entire second quarter, marching the length of the field for a touchdown that made the halftime score 13 – 7. This was the Tech kickoff after their touchdown as we follow the run back by Cumberbatch. I left at halftime – my clothes were being shredded by the wind. So I saw very little of a Cardinal offense. I will defer to the Echo Press then for the story.]
See next we play Moorhead, the No. 1 section seed. Remember we had them beat until the last minute in the first game of the year? And Cumberbatch wasn’t the running back then. But some funny things have happened since then. Bemidji totally dominated us, and then Moorhead totally dominated Bemidji. So, go figure? [This just in: Moorhead won, but it was the best Cardinal season in a few years – and it looks good for the future.]
[Allegedly classmates of mine, according to their FB post. I don’t think so! Maybe their mothers? This photo has absolutely nothing to do with the preceding or proceeding.]
[The next morning – to prove that the previous day’s leafless day was not a fluke. It was the morning of the cross-country section championships at Arrowwood.]
[Mark Nelsen, recently retired coach who still dabbles in course and runner maintenance and marvels at the Fat Boys at the Y every morning, offered me a ride to the finish line this time. But his cab appeared to be full . . .]
[Will the runners please report to the starting line!]
[The boys were first . . . and here they go.]
[The Cards’ Aaron Runge is in the lead pack at the first switchback.]
[He’s 2nd from the left.]
[And the peloton.]
[Aaron’s still right there.]
[Then a couple of Cards.]
[And a couple more Cards. We were a favorite team coming in.]
[The loneliness of the cross-country fan.]
[Aaron has the lead.]
[All his teammates keeping a good pace.]
[Aaron crossing the finish line in 3rd place individually for the Cards leading them to the team championship! All their placements are at the end. I did not take this photo – it was taken by the gentleman in the following photo. You may recall from the Lions’ meet a couple of weeks ago it was a long amble to the finish line and back again to the starting line. I decided not to chance it lest I miss the start of the girls’ race.]
[Said photographer of the preceding picture. Doug Hasz is a close personal relative of a couple of the competitors in the upcoming race.]
[The girls begin prepping.]
[Okay ladies, huddle up . . .]
[Split right, Z-square, toss power trap left, on two!]
[Well, Nelsen has an empty cargo carrier now?]
[Please assemble, the start is in two minutes . . .]
[And yes the Hasz sisters, Megan and Bethany, also double as punters for the football team.]
[And they’re off, with Megan and Bethany jumping to an early lead, as usual.]
[Dad sets up at the first switchback site . . .]
[By then his daughters already have a substantial lead on the field. The field, incidentally, included the No. 3 in the state ranked runner, the No.-1 ranked team, and, I believe, two other teams in the top ten.]
[A quick, no viewfinder look shot of who dad later confirmed to be Megan as she flashed by.]
[And here comes the No. 3-ranked runner, Jenna Trudeson (199), and a Bemidji teammate in 3rd and 4th positions.]
[And from the archives, the sisters and Trudeson in the section finals two years ago.]
[And some Cardinals. 🙂 ]
[A couple of switchbacks later, the field is no longer in sight.]
[In what seemed like minutes later, the Bemidji runners appear at the top of the hill. I went directly from here to the finish line so I wouldn’t miss it as I did in the Lions’ meet.
[Megan and Bethany complete an amazing performance, far ahead of the field. As my former principal, Wayne Elton, noted, they seemed to be fresh as daisies at the end while enjoying tea and crumpets with friends and family. It was a very warm day at 68 degrees, not conducive too distance running, and several runners collapsed at or near the finish line. They were all immediately tended to so all were OK.]
[Trudeson eventually finished 5th . . . ]
[And all the Cardinals, whose placings follow. Congratulations to all of them . . .]
Because you can’t tell the players without a scorecard, from the Cardinal Connection:
CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS at Arrowwood here in Alexandria!!!!
It was an exciting section meet for both our girls and boys varsity on a great course that we have run before at the Lions Invite almost three weeks ago. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for the fans!!! Maybe a tad bit warm for the runners, but no one was complaining. The coaches were extremely pleased with the great preparation, great focus, great attitudes and great effort of these runners. Our boys and girls both knew going in that we are in a very competitive section with only the top two teams and top eight individuals advancing to the state.
Girl’s Report: The Alexandria girls’ team knew they were a bit beat up and were ranked as sixth or seventh place team on paper by many coaches. Willmar, Bemidji, Monticello, Sartell, and Moorhead had defeated them soundly more than once. Alexandria ended up with a great performance of 5th place with many underclass individuals to help us out. Their potential is great. The coaches were so proud of their efforts. Willmar was the class of the section and many believe are a legit top team at state.
Girls’ Team Scores: Willmar 38, Bemidji 69, Moorhead 83, Monticello 145, Alexandria 147, Sartell 152, St. Cloud Tech 199, Brainerd 236, Rocori 269, Becker 278, Detroit Lakes 291, St. Cloud Apollo 320, Thief River Falls 335, Little Falls 341, Fergus Falls 371, Sauk Rapids Rice 455
Individually Megan and Bethany Hasz continue to do their “twin thing” with another 1-2 finish, separating themselves from a championship field by almost 1 minute and Megan posting the fastest time ever on this course for girls 13:41. Megan Shulstad ran a 16:29 season best time on a challenging course. Ellie Hurlen toughed it out with the season and we are ready for this fierce competitor for another season. Calley Richardson and Kayla Egenes, freshman, will also be back next year and finished off this season with great confidence. Allison O’Kane did not get to race with a late season injury, but will definitely be a part of this solid core team that has a fun potential for next year. And last but not least we will miss our Senior Hannah Wendel who works so hard and has been a great leader.
Individually for the Alex girls: Megan Hasz 1, Bethany Hasz 2, Megan Shulstad 39, Ellie Hurlen 49, Callie Richardson 56, Kayla Egenes 80, Hannah Wendel 91
Runners of the Meet: Girls: Megan and Bethany Hasz along with Megan Shulstad.
Boy’s Report: The Alexandria boy’s team knew they were going to be in some tough competition with many exceptional runners especially form Bemidji battling for two slots to advance to the state meet down at St. Olaf. It was an amazing race to watch. I’m not sure anyone could tell the team finish order because of the quality of runners up front and many alex runners and Bemidji runners. Bemidji had 5 runners in front of our five runners, so it was too close to call. The Alexandria boys were instilled with confidence after winning the CLC last week. In addition, they ran very well on this course in early October at the Lion Invite placing 4th with some impressive teams there. They truly expected to run well. Coming into the meet, Bemidji was the team to beat and Alexandria came home with the Section Championship beating Bemidji by five points!!!! Hats off to the BOYS ALEXANDRIA CROSS COUNTRY TEAM FOR BATTLING TO THE END AND EARNING THE 1st PLACE FINISH WITH A SCORE OF 72! Bemidji put five solid races together also and had a great race, we will be looking to continuing our improvements and do well at state! Bemidji was 2nd with 77, Detroit Lakes 3rd with 123, Moorhead 4th with 148 and Willmar 5th at 158.
Full Team Scores: Alexandria 72, Bemidji 77, Detroit Lakes 123, Moorhead 148, Willmar 158, Little Falls 159, Rocori 170, Sartell 183, Brainerd 197, Monticello 215, St. Cloud Tech 231, Becker 307, St. Cloud Apollo 421, Sauk Rapids Rice 422, Thief River Falls 442, Fergus Falls 447
Individually for Alexandria, Aaron Runge ran 16:23 finishing 3rd making him an individual qualifier to state, with a great performance. Also John Kumorowicz continues to impress with a 9th place finish with a solid time of 16:52. Brandon Jerde came through also with a 17:11. Colton Sailor also had a good race running a 17:23. Senior Jesse Groettum is a fierce aggressive competitor finishing with a time of 17:24. Grant Rudolph, junior, ran a very determined race finishing at 17:45. Keaton Gruber, 9th grader, demonstrated great consistency with a time of 17:47.
Individually for the Alex boys: Aaron Runge 3, John Kumorowicz 9, Brandon Jerde 15, Colton Sailor 22, Jesse Groettum 23, Grant Rudolph 32, Keaton Gruber 33
Megan and Bethany Hasz and our boys’ varsity team are excited about representing their school and the opportunity to compete at the State Cross Country Meet a week from Saturday at St. Olaf College.
Runners of the meet for the Boys team was the TEAM – Section Champions
[Award ceremony photos taken by Mr. Hasz. And congratulations to all! I had already fled to the next event of the day, which I believe was some sort of political forum.]
[For the second year in a row, we will not be able to attend the state meet in St. Olaf next Saturday as it once again conflicts with Basketball Dan’s turkeyfest.]
Last week I forgot how to ride a bicycle. ~ Steven Wright
Up next: Volleyball . . . and, hey, don’t forget to see The Addams Family at the AAAA!