Packers land two All-Big Nine runners at conference meet

Published 11:36 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Austin cross country team came away with two All-Conference runners at the Big Nine meet in Owatonna Tuesday.

Tim Erickson finished 13th for a first team All-Big Nine spot for the boys, who took seventh out of 10 teams, and Haley Splinter took fourth for an All-Big Nine spot for the girls, who took ninth.

Splinter’s finish was the highest placing an Austin girl has achieved in the last 10 years at the Big Nine meet.

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“Haley ran a very strong race, running with the leaders throughout the race,” Austin head coach Tony Einertson said. “You could tell it was going to be a good day for her when she came by me at about the mile and she has a smile on her face and gave me a look that told me she was ready to run.”

Splinter was just 21 seconds behind Albert Lea’s Chrissy Monson, who took first overall.

Kaitlynn Carrol had a career best time for Austin as she took 43rd.

Erickson’s solid finish put him on the All-Big Nine team for the first time.

“Tim looked very relaxed during the race,” Einertson said. “He started out at a good pace and kept that going thought out the race.”

Austin’s other top runner, Christian Folken, was slowed down by an illness as he finished 30th.

“Chris has been our top runner all season and it is hard to see him running not at one-hundred percent when it maters the most,” Einertson said. “He keeps gutting out the races and is showing great heart in running the race. The boys team as a whole has been fighting sickness for the last couple of weeks.”

Illnesses forced Austin to have just five varsity runners finish when they could’ve had seven.

Rochester Mayo won the girls meet and Owatonna won the boys meet.

Austin results

Boys: Tim Erickson (13th, 17:11); Christian Folken (30th, 17:51); Ben Bachmeier (42nd, 18:08); Nate Schwab (42nd, 18:08); Zach Rausch (64th, 19:09)

Girls: Haley Splinter (fourth, 15:30); Kaitlynn Carrol (43rd, 17:06); Martha McDermott (48th, 17:22); Katelyn Harder (57th, 17:51); Lauren Thompson (65th, 18:24); Michelle Johannsen, 19:58)