Packers are still pushing hard

Published 6:43 pm Thursday, September 10, 2020

The Austin boys cross country team and the Austin girls took third place at the Austin triangular at the Mower County Fairgrounds Thursday.

Jackson Marsh led the Austin boys with a third place finish and  Marissa Shute took fourth to lead the Packers girls.

While 3.1 miles on the cross country course is a draining feat for all runners, Austin’s Thomas Herrick found the motivation to finish his race with a sprint in the boys race.

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Herrick turned on the jets down the final stretch to catch Owatonna’s Evan Buck at the finish line as Herrick took seventh place with a time of 17:59.3. Herrick edged Buck by a tenth of a second, but he was equally satisfied with hitting a milestone.

Austin’s Nadia Vaughn tries to hold off Owatonna’s Kaitlin Bruessel at the Mower County Fairgrounds Thursday. Rocky Hulne/

“I just saw that (under) 18 minute time and that was my goal,” Herrick said. “Then I saw the Owatonna kid in front of me and I had to catch him to beat that time. My legs were sore and I was trying to kick as hard as I could at the end there.” 

While slow and steady is usually the pace for distance runners, all of the competitors have had to readjust their focus as this season is already at the mid-point as the Packers have just three meets left on the current schedule. Herrick was aiming to get to 18 minutes by the end of the season and now he’s going to try to trim his time down to 17:30.

“I went into the year thinking that I would have to adjust my goals based on it being a short season with less meets,” Herrick said. “We had a good race today, Owatonna is just a really solid team.”

Austin’s Lauren Schmit pulls away from Red Wing’s Tori Leitner at the Mower County Fairgrounds Thursday. Rocky Hulne/


1. Owatonna 18; 2. Austin 43; 3. Red Wing 76

Austin: Jackson Marsh (third, 17:08); Thomas Herrick (seventh, 17:59.3); Joseph Garry (ninth, 18:14.3); Kyle Mayer (11th, 18:26.6); Thomas Asmus (13th, 18:37.1); Alex Petrik (16th, 19:06.2)


1. Owatonna 22; 2. Red Wing 48; 3. Austin 62

Austin: Marissa Shute (fourth, 20:13.7); Nadia Vaughn (ninth, 21:41.2); Cassidy Shute (14th, 26:16.6); Grace Vortherms (17th, 23:11.7); Lauren Schmitt (20th, 24:17); Micha Weber (22nd, 25:56.3)