First cross country meet in 14 years. . . And they’re off!

The Irish cross-country program hosted their first meet in fourteen years at Nye Park on August 29.    “It was fun to host a meet,” said Coach J McClelland. “Hosting a meet allows our athletes to see the program continuing to move forward. The meet went well and we are hoping to learn from this meet to allow meets in the upcoming seasons to run with ease.”

Hosting a meet meant a great deal to the athletes involved in the program also.   “It was nice to actually know the course before the meet,” said sophomore Heather Couette. “The home trail advantage makes a huge difference in cross-country.”

The male athletes competing are required to run a three-mile course and the female athletes run a two and a half-mile course. Scoring is similar to golf, the lowest team score wins. To score a team, five athletes must complete the race. Points are awarded to members of the team as they cross the finish line, with the first runner to cross receiving one point, the second runner two points and so on.

Winning the Irish Invitational for the boys was Litchfield with 28 points followed by Rockford with  65, Dassel-Cokato with 100, Maple Lake with 102,  Delano with 104, and Howard Lake with 147. Holy Family  Catholic and Eden Valley-Watkins had incomplete teams.

The winning girls team was Rockford with 20 points  followed by Eden Valley-Watkins with 86, Delano with  88, Maple Lake with 115, and Howard Lake with 127.  Holy Family Catholic, Litchfield, and Dassel-Cokato  had incomplete teams.

Times were considerably slower due to muddy  conditions after additional rain fell during the day.  “The mud was great. It was hard to run in but it made  the meet fun. These conditions are not something we  usually have to deal with,” said senior Jacki  Vandergon.

The top honors taken by the Irish were awarded to  Travis Korbel who placed 5th in a time of 21:36  minutes. Adam Hill and Amy Muenkel placed 11th  respectably with times of 22:33 and 20:57. Finishing  off the top twenty places were Mike Fritz in a time of  24:13 and Alana Ballweber in a time of 22:53.     Other finishers for the Irish were Heather Couette  who placed 27th in a time of 24:24, Len Nash who  finished 28th in 26:04, Tammy Wenzel also coming in  28th in 24:26, Natalie Blade finished 29th in 24:51,  Allison Ameluxen finished 31st in 25:32, Vicki Hruby  came in 32nd in 25:52, and Nick Carlson finished in  38th in 40:50.    Winning the junior-varsity meet for the boys and  girls meet was Rockford. The Irish girls placed  second. Placing for the Irish was Jacki Vandergon in  8th in a time of 25:31, Elyse Malherek finished 10th  in 26:44, Nicole Bryce finished 11th in 27:20, Melissa  Klitzka finished 12th in 27:21, Allison Thomes  finished 13th in 27:38, Victoria Metz finished 14th in  28:56, and Ashley Hill finished 17th in 35:27.

The cross-country team wishes to thank everyone who  helped make the meet a success. A special thanks goes  out to the volunteers who helped run the meet Tammy  Muenkel, Kim Fynboh, Robert Bryce, Riley Decker, Chris  Blade, Amanda Blade, Kraig Hill, Mike Llohtka, and the  Wright County Park System.

Up next for the Irish is Annandale Invitational of  September 9 at Whispering Pines Golf Course and the  Delano Meet on September 12.

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