GMLOS starts a cross country program

Published 10:01 pm Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Grand Meadow-LeRoy-Ostrander-Southland cross country team will make its debut this fall. The team includes (back row, left to right): Mckenzie Kirtz, Stephanie Sukalski, Victoria Litwiller, Joey Litwiller, Andrew Riedemann and head coach Chris Detert; front row: Macie Voigt, Jordan Glynn, Katarina Bain, Thomas Shaw and Andrew Arndonfer. -- Rocky Hulne/

ADAMS – Cross country has arrived in the school districts of Southland, Grand Meadow and LeRoy-Ostrander.

After not ever having a cross country team, the three schools are combining to start up a program this year. The GMLOS squad, which has runners from all three districts, has just 12 total runners on the team. Head coach Chris Detert, who coached the distance runners for GMLOS’s track and field team last spring, said he’s looking forward to seeing the team grow.

“I would like to see it get bigger and get more kids into it,” Detert said. “If kids from Southland, Grand Meadow or LeRoy-Ostrander aren’t interested in playing volleyball or football, there’s a legitimate sport they can go out for that’s a lot of fun.”

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Detert has received some help from one expected source and one that was not so expected in getting the team started. Southland sophomore McKenzie Kirtz, who took ninth in the 1600-meter run in the Class ‘A’ state meet last spring, gives the girls team a top-notch runner to learn from.

“It’s a small team so everyone’s together and I’m trying to help out as a leader,” Kirtz said. “It’ll help me for track and it’s something new. It’ll be good.”

The boys team has looked to Grand Meadow senior Andrew Riedemann, who doesn’t have much of a distance running history, but he has put his all into the early practice sessions. Riedemann is using cross country to get in shape for basketball season and he’s also hoping to compete when the season starts.

“This is the most running I’ve done in my life,” he said. “I’m going try and push myself so I can hopefully finish towards the top (in meets).”

Detert said Kirtz and Riedemann have helped boost up some of their younger teammates with their energy.

“I’m super happy that McKenzie came out because she’s a natural leader, she’s very athletic and she’s got that distance history,” Detert said. “She’s going to be a great role model for the kids. Andrew’s been really great too and he’s been showing some great leadership skills.”

Detert said neither the boys’ or the girls’ squads will likely field enough varsity runners to put up a team score, but he said his individual runners can make some strides this year. The only trouble is, none of them know what to expect from a cross country meet, so their first action could be a little eye opening.

“You can’t emulate that unless you just do it,” Detert said. “That’s the point of having a season is to get those meets to warm up for conference and sections.”

GMLOS will open its season in the Stewartville Invite Aug. 30 at 4 p.m.