Girls expectations ‘run’ high
Avoiding injuries and the performance of underclassmen may very well determine how successful Blue Earth Areas girls cross country team will be this year.
Of the 32 reporting for the second week of practice, there are only nine seniors and 11 returning varsity letterwinners.
Head Coach Tom Plocker and assistant coach Chris Detert do have six of the seven runners who placed 10th at the State Meet last year back for another season.
Gone from the State team is Miranda Murray, a six-time letterwinner.
The 2008 team’s success earned Plocker the Class A Coach of the Year honor.
“We’ll be real solid with a lot of experience. Our expectations are high and the girls are looking to have another strong year,” says Plocker.
Topping the list of returnees are sophomore Courtney Grandgenett and junior Rylee Wagner.
A three-time varsity letterman, Grandgenett earned All-Conference honors by placing sixth at the South Central Conference Meet.
She also was an All-Section runner when she finished ninth at the Section Meet and qualified for the individual portion for the State Meet.
Grandgenett’s time of 16:06.7 at State put her in the 69th spot. She currently ranks seventh on the Girls Varsity Club.
Wagner enters the season with four varsity letters and holds the No. 11 spot on the Varsity Club. She was 14th at the conference meet and was All-Section with her 13th-place showing.
Senior Mandy Warmka has five varsity letters, while junior Lindsey Ankeny has four and junior LaNay Walker two. Sophomore Marissia Hagedorn is a three-year letterwinner.
Warmka was 28th at the SCC Meet and 36th at Section. She listed No. 22 on the Varsity Club.
Ankeny is one slot below Warmka on the Varsity Club, while Walker holds the No. 16 spot.
Ankeny took 17th at the conference meet and 47th at sections. Walker was 11th at the SCC Meet and 20th overall at the section championship.
Hagedorn will be trying to improve on her 12th-place finish at conference and 22nd-place performance at section. She is No. 13 on the Varsity Club.
Plocker is hoping senior Meghan Mittelstadt will regain her running form that has earned her five varsity letters and a participant in the team portion of the State Meet.
Mittelstadt, who is 17th on the Varsity Club list, missed all of the 2008 season because of a knee injury.
The other varsity letterwinners include juniors Kelly Aukes and MacKenzie Determan with two apiece, and seniors Taylor Swanson with two and Amanda Pecholt with one.
The Bucs will be trying to improve on their third-place finish in the conference last year. In fact, the team has been third for eight straight years.
Plocker says arch rival Fairmont and Waseca again appear to be the teams to beat in the conference.
The Bucs could fare well in the SCC Meet held at Cedar Creek Park in Fairmont. They’ll take part in the I-90 Invite held at Cedar Creek a week before the Section Meet.
To read more of this story, see this week’s Register.