Cross country: Splinter gets her stride back

Published 9:48 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Austin's McKenzie Besel runs near the front during the girls varsity race Tuesday afternoon of the Austin Invitational at River Oaks Golf Course. -- Eric Johnson/

Austin senior Haley Splinter didn’t like the heat, but she did like how she felt during the first cross country meet of the season at River Oaks Country Club Tuesday.

Austin's Madison Overby runs with Albert Lea's Chrissy Monson at the head of the pack during the girls varsity race Tuesday afternoon of the Austin Invitational.

Splinter was one of three Packers to finish in the top-10, but Austin had to settle for fifth place out of six teams as one of its top runners, Justice Tabor, was out of the lineup.

“The heat was horrible,” said Splinter. “There were some shady spots on the last loop and I just wanted to stop and stay in the shade.”

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Still, Splinter shook off unseasonably warm temperatures to take sixth place with a time of 16:17. She said she felt much better than she did in most races last season, when she suffered fatigue quite often.

“I felt good compared to the beginning of last year,” Splinter said. “I’m in control of my body and it feels good to go through a race that’s not so painful and tiring. It’s good to have the energy back.”

Austin freshman Madison Overby finished in second place behind Albert Lea’s Chrissy Monson, who Overby had beaten in last year’s Big Nine, Section 1A and Class ‘A’ state meets.

But Overby, who finished with a time of 15:40, wasn’t running on all cylinders Tuesday as she’s still recovering from a heat exhaustion that she suffered at this year’s hog jog.

“(The heat exhaustion) was pretty bad and this was like a second wave,” Overby said. “I didn’t go too fast, but I ended up going faster than I wanted to.”

Overby kept up with Monson for most of the race, but ended up in second place by 12 seconds. She’s not exactly sweating the finish since its just the first meet of the year.

“We’re friends and we talked before the race,” Overby said of Monson. “We just said this is a fun race and we shouldn’t get too worked up about it. “

Austin senior McKenzie Besel finished 10th overall.

AUSTIN RESULTS: Madison Overby (second, 15:40); Haley Splinter (sixth, 16:17); McKenzie Besel (10th, 16:48); Ochudo Cham (50th, 19:15) Sara Willrodt (51st, 19:19); Jenna Grabau (56th, 19:42)