Overby and Splinter run strong

Published 11:58 pm Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Austin's Madison Overby heads to the finish for the win in the girls varsity race of the Austin Invitational Tuesday at River Oaks Golf Course. -- Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Austin freshman Madison Overby isn’t ready for this cross country season to be done just yet, but she couldn’t help but feel a little sentimental while running alongside a senior who helped her learn what varsity cross country is all about.

Overby, a two-time state qualifier, and Austin senior Haley Splinter, a two-time state qualifier, ran side by for the first mile, until Overby bolted out to finish first and Splinter ended up in third place at the Austin Invite at River Oaks Golf Course Tuesday.

Lyle-Pacelli's Madeline Kraemer strides to the finish in the girls' varsity race Tuesday at the Austin Invitational.

“I didn’t really know what to expect when I started as a seventh grader. Haley helped me along and she gave me some really nice advice,” Overby said. “It’s a lot more fun (running with Haley). That whole first mile we were joking and just having a lot of fun.

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Overby finished with the fastest time she’s ever put up at River Oaks and she will defend her Big Nine title in Owatonna next Thursday. But she doesn’t want to get to far ahead of herself.

“I’m not ready to let this season end because I’m gonna miss the seniors so much. I don’t want to let it go,” she said.

Splinter was one of the main veterans on the squad when Overby came up two years ago and she can’t believe how much Overby has improved in the past two and a half years.

“She has come so far. I’m just so proud of her,” Splinter said. “She trains a lot on her own and she possesses a natural talent. She’s excelled beyond what I thought and she’s a great runner.”Splinter has bounced back strong this year after suffering with fatigue throughout most of her junior season. Last week, Splinter beat Albert Lea senior Crissy Monson for the first time in her career and on Tuesday, Splinter was just eight seconds behind Monson.

Austin's Andrew Baker nears the finish as he takes third in the boys varsity race of the Austin Invitational Tuesday at River Oaks Golf Course.

“It was a great highlight in my career (to beat her) last week and now that I know I have the capability, it’s a lot easier to run with her in meets,” Splinter said.

Splinter also enjoyed running with Overby for the first mile. But she also knew when to let her take the lead.

“I told her to go on because it was time for her to be up where she belongs,” Splinter said.

Austin senior McKenzie Besel, who is a co-captain with Splinter, finished 15th for the Packers, who took second at the seven-team meet. She has been fighting back from an injury for most of the season and is hoping to be closer to full strength next week.

She said her last race in River Oaks was bittersweet, especially because she has been close with Splinter for a long time.

“This was our last time as seniors on this course and it was cool to be out there with Haley,” Besel said. “We’ve been together for a long time and we’ve gotten really tight. Our girls team is really close this year and that helps team chemistry.”

The Shamrock girls finished seventh in the meet as Madeline Kraemer took 14th and Sarah Kahle finished 24th.

The Packers took third place in the boys meet as Andrew Baker took fourth and Mason Wollersheim took sixth.

Baker is coming on strong as the season rolls to an end.

Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Southland's Andrew Riedemann runs in the boys varsity race of the Austin Invitational Tuesday at River Oaks Golf Course.

“I felt like I had a good race and it was one of my better races,” he said. “I just have to prepare myself, by training, getting lots of sleep and eating right.”

The Pacelli boys took seventh as Dakota Biwer finished 58th.

Austin boys results: Andrew Baker (fourth, 16:40.10); Mason Wollersheim (sixth, 17:45.95); Quin Brunner (14th, 17:50.56); Ben Walker (22nd, 18:04.86); Micah Kelly (29th, 18:30.58); Cole Prescott (33rd, 18:38.41); Derek Vos (36th, 18:42.96)

Pacelli boys results: Dakota Biwer (58th, 19:40.76); Stephen Juenger (71st, 20:18.23); Nathan Drees (77th, 20:35.62); Cole Ethen (105th, 23:03.85)

GMLOS boys results: Andrew Riedemann (75th, 20:32.09); Ben Himebaugh (103rd, 22:51.32)

Austin girls results: Madison Overby (first, 15:02.36); Haley Splinter (third, 15:15.88); McKenzie Besel (15th, 16:15.48); Justice Tabor (16th, 16:22.71); Paiton Schwab (32nd, 17:04.11); Tasia Martinson (35th, 17:10.58)

Pacelli girls results: Madeline Kraemer (14th, 16:14.62); Sarah Kahle (24th, 16:49.16); Katherine Ethen (76th, 19:36.20); Tiffany Hoesing (78th, 19:36.42); Jwokamer DeBock (94th, 22:55.90)

GMLOS girls results: Stephanie Sukalski (44th, 17:33.19); Victoria Litwiller (97th, 27:04.68)