First year runners step up for Austin

Published 10:57 pm Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Austin's Madison Overby leads a pair of Owatonna runners during the Austin Invitational cross country meet Tuesday afternoon at River Oaks Golf Club. -- Eric Johnson/

It was all about the newcomers for the Austin cross country teams in their season opener at River Oaks Tuesday.

The girls team was just one point behind second place Rochester John Marshall as it took third out of five teams and it received top-15 finishes from two first year runners. The boys team was 61 points behind Owatonna, which had 13 of the top 14 runners, as it took second with two of its newcomers finishing in the top-25.

Seventh grader Madison Overby led the girls team with a sixth place finish in her varsity debut. She stared off in the middle of the pack, but slowly worked her way up near the front.

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“I got a little tired but it was fun,” Overby said. “It feels a lot longer, but it’s pretty much the same type of race (as junior high). I felt really good about how I finished.”

Austin sophomores Haley Splinter and McKenzie Besel, another first year runner, both gave the team a lift as Splinter took eighth and Besel was 12th.

“It was a different feeling and I loved the cheers from the crowd,” Besel, who was on the swim team last season, said. “I was going out expecting nothing and I was really excited about it. I think Madison and I are really working together and we’re pushing each other to get better in the future. Plus coach (Tony) Einertson is awesome and he does a good job.”

Austin's Nate Schwab runs the back part of the course during the boys' varsity race of the Austin Invitational cross country meet Tuesday at River Oaks Golf Club. -- Eric Johnson/

Austin junior Nate Schwab led the boys with a 15th place finish while first year runners Zach Fadness, who was 20th, and Max Gillen, who was 25th, ran well.

Fadness, a senior, took on cross country this season after playing football in the past.

“It was a different experience and it’s fun once you get going,” he said. “It’s a different kind of toughness. It’s mental and more endurance while football is about physical toughness.”

Austin boys results: Nate Schwab (15th, 17:39.24); Zach Fadness (20th, 17:54.52); Max Gillen (25th, 18:28.86); Dylan Diekmann (30th, 18:43.16); Joseph Gerber (33rd, 18:53.51); Andrew Baker (36th, 19:17.02); Gabriel Ramirez-Hernandez (38th, 19:21.51)

Austin girls results: Madison Overby (sixth, 15:57.65); Haley Splinter (eighth, 16:03); McKenzie Besel (12th, 16:15.98); Kaitlynn Carrol (27th, 17:53.00); Lauren Thompson (34th, 18:25.48); Martha McDermott (44th, 18:50.24); Anissa Zynda (46th, 18:51.95); Abby Snater (47th, 18:55.04); Katelyn Harder (50th, 19:07.08)