Packer girls place third as a team

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Owatonna's dominance of the season-opening Austin Invitational cross country Monday at Ramsey Golf Club was no surprise, but the Packer girls' team finish was.

That's right, a team finish.

The Austin High School girls' cross country team sent at least five runners around the 2.5-mile course for the first time in five years, scoring a third-place team finish in its own invite. Owatonna won by a landslide, followed by Hayfield, Austin and Albert Lea.

Email newsletter signup

"We placed as a team for the first time in five years," celebrated AHS coach Tony Einertson. "I'm just so proud of the other girls for finishing. Do what you have to do to get to the end of the race."

Austin's full roster includes seven girls, six of which ran in Monday's opener. Sophomores Natalie Bowers and Katie Munk led the way, finishing seventh and 13th respectively. Lone senior Molly Thatcher placed 19th overall.

"Natalie held in there very well," Coach Einertson said. "She had no let-ups, she just stayed constant."

Owatonna swept the top five spots, led by Nicole McCann's torrid pace of 15:23. The next four Huskies runners finished within one minute of their leader.

"That really wasn't a surprise to us, but still they threw a dominating performance at us," Einertson said.

Hayfield junior Sara Halverson ended the string of Owatonna runners with Bowers on her heels. Halverson, a three-time state qualifier, placed sixth in 16:30. Bowers was just two ticks back.

Heather Williams of Hayfield made a strong showing in the first meet, marching to 11th overall in under 17 minutes. Munk finished 13th in 17:16 despite the humidity hampering her asthma.

"She ran well, she had trouble running in the hot, humid weather," Coach Einertson said. "Her training isn't where it should be, and I think know she knows where she should be."

The Packers run Friday at the St. Olaf Invite in Northfield, while Hayfield runs Thursday in Stewartville. The Vikings host an invitational at The Oaks Sept. 3 at 4:30 p.m.


Team standings -- 1. Owatonna 15, 2. Hayfield 101, 3. Austin 104, 4. Albert Lea 190.

Individual -- 1. Nicole McCann (O) 15:23, 2. Kelsey Daly (O) 16:10, 3. Tasheena Ellingson (O) 16:19, 4. Tara Davidson (O) 16:20, 5. Samantha Running (O) 16:22, 6. Sara Halverson (H) 16:30, 7. Natalie Bowers (AUS) 16:32.

AUSTIN -- 7. Bowers, 13. Katie Munk 17:16,

19. Molly Thatcher 18:28, 25. Megan Wilson 18:36, 40. Michelle Dammen 20:37, 41. Ashley Bumgardner 20:38.

HAYFIELD -- 6. Halverson, 11. Heather Williams 16:55, 22. Anna Taylor 19:08, 27. Sheryl West 18:46, 35. Tracy Truenow 20:27, 39. Faith Rasmussen 20:36, 54. Kelly Baumann 24:37.

Call Ross Thede at 434-2234 or e-mail him at