The team showed signs of steady improvement.
The wind last Thursday was incredibly strong. The cross country race in Brooten is held on the golf course. It's extremely flat with very few trees, so the wind was definitely a factor in the team's performance.
This was a perfect opportunity for coach Darrel Carstens to emphasize the advantages of pack running. When a team runs as a pack, they can use each other to break the wind or "draft" to conserve energy. The Morris team used this skill to their advantage and finished in the top three places.
Leading the Bulldogs once again was junior Dan Johnson. Johnson ran a spectacular race, finishing in sixth place and right behind Albany rival Chris Goebel.
Senior Matt Jorgensen was the team's second runner in 17th place. He was followed by senior Doug Utsch in 20th place. These two runners have already become very reliable members of the team. With steady improvement, they hope to give Johnson a little more company at the front of the field.
The story of the varsity race was the awesome improvement of Andy Heinen. Heinen finished in 22nd place, covering the 5000 meter course in 18:57. At Morris, Heinen ran a 20:27. In spite of the windy conditions, he dropped a minute and a half from his first race.
Senior Ryan Louis, the team's fifth runner, finished 40th. Eric Werlinger was 46th. Chad Hollander finished his first varsity race in 53rd.
"This has been one of the most thoroughly enjoyable meets I have been to," said coach Rick Houske. "I love watching that kind of individual improvement."
1) Morris 55
2) Montevideo 56
3) Sauk Centre 96
4) Paynesville 105
5) Albany 107
6) New London-Spicer 122
7) BOLD 204
8) ACGC 208
9) Minnewaska 241
10) Litchfield 269
11) Ortonville 304
12) BBE inc.
6) Dan Johnson 17:51
17) Matt Jorgensen 18:40
20) Doug Utsch 18:46
22) Andrew Heinen 18:57
40) Ryan Louis 19:51
46) Eric Werlinger 20:16
53) Chad Hollander 21:33
Freshman Luke Trees was once again the first Bulldog across the finish line in the junior varsity race.
He finished in second place with a time of 20:12.
Nathan Pelz and Josh Frenchick ran to super finishes of fourth and fifth, respectively.
At the team's first meet in Morris, the seventh and eighth graders ran separate races. At the Brooten meet, they ran together in the junior high race.
Clayton Lang led the junior high boys with a third place finish. Eric Rausch and Ryan Flanders ran to great finishes of 10th and 12th. Eric Korman and Andrew Jones also ran well in 13th and 17th places. Travis Flanders continues to run strong. He finished in 20th place.
On Thursday, Sept. 12, the team will go to the Little Crow Golf Course in New London for their third meet.
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