New fall, new faces: Packer cross country team has a new look in opening meet

Published 9:32 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Austin cross country team is turning the page to a new group of leaders this fall and the team was able to put its new look on display Tuesday in its first action of the season in a six-team home meet at Meadow Greens Golf Course.

The Packer boys and girls each finished in fifth place, but both teams picked up some valuable experience.

Austin sophomore Nadia Vaughn led the girls team with a 12th place finish and she was followed by seventh-grader Marissa Shute who finished 18th. Vaughn has some big shoes to fill this fall as she is now Austin’s top runner after five-time state qualifier Abby Lewis has graduated.

Austin’s Thomas Herrick leads a trio of runners including Albert Lea’s Colby Pathammavong (7519) and Austin’s Kyle Mayer (7557) as they near the finish of the boys race Tuesday afternoon during the Austin Invitational. Eric Johnson/

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Vaughn is taking the role in stride, but she also realizes the importance of setting the pace for her teammates.

It was definitely kind of scary. I feel like it’s a lot of pressure and I’m not going to do as well as (Abby) did. But it will be OK,” Vaughn said. “I feel like I’m definitely pushing myself a lot harder because I want to do really well and show coach (Tony) Einertson that it’s still OK even though Abby isn’t here. I think it was a good start for us to work up from.”

The Austin boys were led by junior Jackson Marsh, who took 21st place. He was followed by freshman Joseph Garry, who took 30th.

Marsh said it felt weird to be running without Henry Hinchliffe, a two-time state qualifier who graduated last year, and Meti Omod, who an All-Stater last year, but who transferred to Rochester John Marshall.

Austin’s Cassidy Shute nears the finish during the girls race of the Austin Invitational Tuesday afternoon. Eric Johnson/

“I felt like we did pretty well. We’ve had a lot of hard training and a lot of high mileage weeks,” Marsh said. “We had a lot of surprises and a couple of guys proved themselves. I feel like I did alright and I’m not quite where I want to be, but I’ve got a lot of time to get to that point.”

All in all, Marsh and the Packers were glad to get back to competing again.

“It’s always fun to get out here,” Marsh said. “There were a lot of nerves because I haven’t run since last track season, but it’s really good to get the first race jitters out of the way to get ready for the rest of the season.”

Austin’s Marissa Shute runs between a pair of Owatonna runners during the girls race of the Austin Invitational Tuesday. Eric Johnson/


Team standings: 1. Owatonna 30; 2. Rochester Century 54; 3. Albert Lea 66; 4. Rochester Mayo 74; 5. Austin 142; 6. Simley 172

Austin results: Jackson Marsh (21st, 18:31.9); Joseph Garry (30th, 18:52.7); Alex Petrick (33rd, 19:01.8); Thomas Herrick (39th, 19:16.7); Kyle Mayer (41st, 19:17.6); Nickolas Wahlen (48th, 19:34.3)

Austin’s Kaden Murley runs amongst a pack of runners during the Austin Invite Tuesday afternoon. Eric Johnson/


Team standings: 1. Rochester Century 46; 2. Mankato West 61; 3. Rochester Mayo 61; 4. Owatonna 70; 5. Austin 129; 6. Albert Lea 150

Austin results: Nadia Vaughn (12th, 21:26.6); Marissa Shute (18th, 22:12.12); Cassidy Shute (26th, 22:43.1); Lilyan Weise (50th, 23:49.5); Ruby Kvam (55th, 24:10.5); Lauren Schmitt (69th, 24:45.6)

Austin’s Alex Petrik runs during the Austin Invitational Thursday afternoon. Eric Johnson/