Kahle: Making big strides

Pacelli freshman Sarah Kahle will be running in the Class ‘A’ state cross country meet this Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Pacelli’s Sarah Kahle may be the most improved cross country runner in Class ‘A’ this fall.

She’s at least the most improved runner who will be at the state meet this Saturday in St. Olaf College in Northfield.

Kahle went from taking 48th at the Section 1A meet as an eighth grader, to taking tenth as a freshman — as she became the first Pacelli girl runner in school history to advance to state last week.

“In a way I thought I would go (to state), because I’ve done good this year,” Kahle said. “I was kind of expecting it, but kind of doubting at the same time. I certainly have come far from last year, 48th to 10th it’s amazing.”

According to Pacelli head coach Jim Parlin, Kahle’s 38 place improvement at the section meet is higher than any other state qualifier. Nobody else improved more than 27 spots from last season to this season.

Kahle’s improvement came as the result of a lot of hard work over the summer. Her family is very involved in running and she’s glad to keep up the Kahle tradition.

“My whole family loves running and we’re so dedicated,” she said. “My mom has been my biggest supporter, my brother wants to be a runner and my baby sister is pretty much going to be a runner.”

Kahle has also received inspiration from her teammate and running partner, sophomore Madeline Kraemer, who has helped push her along this season. Kraemer took 14th place at the section meet — missing state by four spots.

“Having a partner to work with like Madeline has been a big plus for her,” Parlin said. “They’ve pushed each other all year long and they work hard and work together. That makes a big difference.”

With the task of getting to state out of the way, now Kahle must embrace for the thrill of running with the state’s elite runners on the big stage.

“I’m really nervous. So many people are going to be there and it’s me in this small little world,” she said.

Parlin said that it’s anybody’s guess how Kahle will react to the state meet.

“You never quite know how they’re going to do they’re first time at state,” he said. “It’s a different meet and it can be a little overwhelming, but she seems to be pretty even keel. We’ll have to wait and see how things go.”

Parlin hopes that Kahle’s success helps improve the numbers for the Pacelli girls team, which had just three runners this year.

“It’s a big deal,” Parlin said. “Hopefully it’s kind of a breakthrough for us and maybe it’ll encourage some other girls to come out and join us.”

The Class ‘A’ girls race begins at 11 a.m. in Northfield Saturday.

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