The St. Michael-Albertville Girls Cross Country Team earned a podium finish (top 3 teams) for the third consecutive season by placing third at the State Cross Country Meet Saturday, Nov. 2, on the campus of St. Olaf College in Northfield.
The girls made history in a variety of ways that included putting two runners on the podium (top 10 individuals) for the first time in STMA Cross Country history, in sophomores Ali Weimer (4th place) and Katie Sigerud (9th place). Weimer earned All-State podium status for the third year-in-a-row, as she placed 7th last year, as a freshman, and 9th, as an 8th grader. Only one other STMA female runner has placed in the top 10 at the class “AA” State Cross Country Meet and that was Rachel King, who placed 6th individually in 2014.
Only one other team at STMA has been a cross country podium team, that being Mike Beck’s 1998 boys team that finished as State runnerup in class “A”. Coach Heather Strait along with assistant Matt Venaas have led the Knight girls to the podium now 3 times in 3 years, after winning the state team title last season and placing third, as a team, in 2017.
Ali Weimer was at the front of the pack from the outset and battled to stay near the lead throughout the 5K race, finishing 4th in a time of 18 minutes flat and establishing herself as one of the top runners in the state. Katie Sigerud, after finishing 13th a year ago, trailed behind the lead pack, but came on strong the second half of the race to break into the top 10 with a time of 18:24.
Edina (55 points) won the girls team title, followed by Wayzata-109 points, then the Knights, close behind with 115 points.
Senior Paige McAloon ended her impressive high school cross country career as the Knights third runner at State, placing 39th in a time of 19:04. Other Knight girls included: freshman Emma Windingland (49th-19:09), senior Anna Belair (68th-19:17), freshman Avery O’Rourke (100th-19:42), and junior Jessica Immer (106th-19:43). Freshman Becca Immer and junior Ashlyn McClintock were alternates for the State Meet team.
Coach Heather Strait commented,” It’s been so gratifying, as a coach, to have the privilege to coach these young ladies. They’re talented, yet work very hard, and they’re super competitive, not to mention fun to be around. What they have accomplished is awesome. We will sorely miss our two senior captains, Paige and Anna, for their leadership and just being part of the family.”
The STMA boys team consisting of two individuals, sophomore Caden Nordberg and senior Kyle Swenson, also competed on Saturday November 2nd at St. Olaf in the class “AA” Boys 5K. Nordberg finished 60th in a time of 16:35 and Swenson placed 119th in a time of 17:03.
Coach Greeno, assisted this season by Dennis Kucera and Jesse Hackenmueller, said, “It’s hard to come away from the State Meet, for the runners to be totally satisfied, but I was extremely proud of the way the guys ran and how they’ve competed and handled themselves the whole season. Minnesota class “AA” cross country is so unbelievably competitive and when you look at the results and realize who both of these guys beat in the race, you realize that they ran very well. And for the course and conditions, their times were very good, too. Caden placed 13th at our Section Meet and was 10th among his Section competitors at State and Kyle was 16th at Sections and was 16th among his Section competitors at State, so they both had very good races at State, comparatively speaking.”
The STMA Boys Cross Country team will host their season celebration banquet Monday, Nov. 11, at the STMA High School cafeteria and the Girls Team will have their season celebrating get together Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the Middle School West cafeteria.