Teams looking to make strides
They’re off and running.
The Blue Earth Area girls and boys cross country teams opened their 2011 season with the Fairmont Early-Bird held Friday, Aug. 26.
While veteran head coach Tom Plocker gears up for another year, it’ll be the first for newcomer Laura Jensen.
She is replacing assistant coach Chris Detert.
“She’s the first female coach in Buccaneer cross country history,” says Plocker.
Although both teams have four of the top seven runners who competed in the Section meet last year, they’ll have to rely on some new faces to fill the other spots.
“Both teams will have some veterans back and we’ll have to count on some underclassmen,” says Plocker. “I’m optimistic for a good season.”
The girls squad will have to replace six seniors that earned a total of 25 varsity letters; two were six-time letterwinners, while three had four letters each.
The Bucs will be looking to improve at a third-place finish in the conference. It was the 10th straight year they have taken third. In the section, BEA also took third-place.
Leading the way for the Bucs will be seniors Courtney Grandgenett and Marissia Hagedorn. Both have earned five varsity letters in their careers.
In last year’s South Central Conference Meet, Grandgenett gained All-Conference honor’s with a sixth-place medal time of 15:53. Hagedorn was 12th with 16:28.
Grandgenett was the lone Buc to qualify for the State Meet as an individual by finishing in the “Top 10.” Her time of 15:17 was ninth overall. Hagedorn crossed the finish line in 15:35 to take 14th.
Eighth-grader Taylor Grandgenett and freshman Signe Olson will be looking to improve on the performances last year in the conference and section meets
Grandgenett, who has earned one varsity letter, placed 19th in the SCC Meet with 17:19, while Olson was 22nd with 17:37.
In the Section Meet, Grandgenett’s time of 16:47 was 47th overall and Olson was just two spots back with 16:49.
Expected to make a strong bid for a varsity spot will be eighth-grader Shayna Stevermer. Although a newcomer to the program, Stevermer ran varsity while at United South Central.
Other returning varsity letterwinners include: junior Cassie Thompson and sophomore Sierra Halvorson with two each; one-year letterwinners, senior Mimi Matejka; junior Mara Fenske; and sophomore Anna Aukes.
Upperclassmen who could provide some depth will be senior Kristine Volz, junior Josselyn Martinez and Laura Soerensen, an exchange student from Denmark.
Plocker is hoping for a strong season from sophomores Alexis Brooks, Bess Clement and Jenna Stevermer.
Freshmen who could have an impact include Autumn Foster, Rowan Hacken, Meredith Hagedorn, Athena Peterson and Brittany Rochefort.
Eighth-graders with a chance to contribute will be Nyla Anderson, Madalyn Gaydon, Makenzie Slette and Mariah Halvorson.
On the boys side, the Bucs also have four back from last year’s seven-member section team.
BEA lost some experience through graduation.
Gone are six seniors who earned a total of 23 varsity letters. Three were five-time letterwinners, while one ended his career with four and another with three.
The team last year was third in the SCC and sixth at the section meet.
Senior Jake Zebedee enters the season with three varsity letters.
Last year, he was 17th in the conference meet with a time of 18:50, and was 60th at section.
Freshman Mike Ankeny and sophomore Korey Frandle are two-year letterwinners.
In the conference meet, Ankeny was 20th with 18:57, while Frandle placed 32nd with a time of 20:32.
At the section meet, Ankeny posted a time of 19:13 to place 47th and Frandle was 105th with 22:00. Jesse Alleven has earned one varsity letter. The Buc junior was 26th in the SCC meet with a time of 19:41 and 72nd at section with 19:59.
Other returning lettermen include senior Ben Krussow, senior Isaac Vasquez and junior Luke Loveall, all with one.
The Bucs could get a boost from newcomer Jake Wagner, who is a senior and three-year letterwinner in track.
Others vying for a varsity spot include two foreign exchange students, senior Daniel Tsai of Taiwan and junior Arne Schenk of Germany.
Sophomores Alec Huber, Kyle Mercer, and Jose Rios, as well as freshmen Nick Lein and Ike Zebedee are expected to provide competition.
Eighth-graders on the team include Adam Buseman, Kolt Gorg, John Lindsey, Jack Nimz, Zack Shure, Colin Squiers, Zach Vaske and Seth Becker.
In the SCC and Section meets, Plocker sees the Waseca girls and boys as the teams to beat with Fairmont also being in contention.