SLEEPY EYE - Brianna Polesky marked the best finish of any area runner at the cross-country meet at the Sleepy Eye Golf Course on Monday, finishing second with a time of 16:42 in the girl's race.
Polesky, an eighth grader at Sleepy Eye High School, led the St. Mary's/Sleepy Eye/New Ulm Cathedral girl's team to a third-place finish in the meet with two of its 63 team points.
"I just came back from sickness so I was expecting not to do as well," Polesky said. "My legs felt fresh and I contained my breathing, so I felt pretty good."
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s-Sleepy Eye-New Ulm Cathedral’s Brianna Polesky finished second overall in the girls cross country meet Monday at the Sleepy Eye golf course.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
The girl's race started on an awkward foot when Polesky, who had sprinted out to an early lead out of the gate, accidentally ran to the incorrect flag that was to the left of the starting line. The rest of the runners followed Polesky's lead, but quickly changed course once they all figured out that they were actually supposed to go straight.
"The guy who shot off the gun, he said 'Go for the yellow flag,'" Polesky said. "So I saw the yellow flag, I'm like, 'Oh, there's the yellow flag,' so I started running that way and everyone started following me."
In her first year out for cross-country, Polesky said she typically finished in fourth-eighth place, but felt a little extra energy in this race.
"I think it was a real confidence-booster for her," said St. Mary's coach Scott DeMaris. "She really wanted to take a shot at winning. She ran really hard and she put herself in a position to and got beat by a very good runner who won last year here."
Kyla Haas of Mankato Loyola finished first overall in the girl's race with a time of 16:22 - a full 20 seconds ahead of Polesky.
The Knights had three runners finish consecutively in Cassidy Hacker (13th in 17:57), Jenny Lax (14th in 17:57) and Emily Schumacher (15th in 18:04). Seventh-grader Kira DeMaris rounded out the Knights' scoring with a 19th-place finish in 19:10.
Minnesota Valley Lutheran pasted together some solid finishes from its top runners in the girl's race, despite having a three-day weekend that made it tough for some runners to get going.
Seniors Talia Otto and Cheyenne Bjorklund finished fifth and sixth for the Chargers with times of 17:17 and 17:27, accounting for 11 of their 78 team points.
Bjorklund said she finished as well as she could after having her knee realigned.
"My tendon on the inside got stronger and was pulling my knee cap over and causing it to unalign," Bjorklund said.
Bjorklund said Sleepy Eye's course has more gradual hills than she is used to, so that did not help mitigate the pain she experienced from her recent surgery.
Alexa Diersen (17th in 18:31), Brianna Sanders (25th in 19:56) and Maria Muske (28th in 20:21) rounded out the Chargers' scoring for a fourth-place finish.
MVL coach Nicole Lehman said Bjorklund, Otto and Diersen have been leading the Chargers' girl's team through the season with their leadership and experience.
"They have been pretty good at pushing each other," Lehman said. "Alexa has been our leader for most of our races, but they work together as a team. So if one is having an off race, the others pick up the slack and they've got it."
Sibley East finished fifth in the team standings with a score of 112. The Wolverines were led by Alison Eibs, who finished 10th in 17:46.
On the boy's side, it was Stephen Joyce of St. Mary's/Sleepy Eye/New Ulm Cathedral who placed the highest of the area runners with a ninth-place finish. Joyce ran the race in 19:21 and was the first finisher who did not compete for either Mankato Loyola or Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial/Nicollet.
Ben Jakobitz (17th in 20:07) and Nick DeMaris (19th in 20:33) placed second and third for the Knights, while Zac Long (27th in 21:50) and Ruben Astorga (28 points for 29th in 21:59) rounded out the scoring for the Knights' 100 points.
Peter Finken led the Chargers' boy's team with a 13th-place finish in 19:43. Finken, a junior, and sophomore Jacob Grefe (22nd in 20:47) are the only non-freshmen on the team, which finished fifth in the team standings with 116 points.
"Our boys, we're a young team," Lehman said. "They're still in that learning process of how to pace themselves, how to use the race, how to use others in the race to push them. So it's a learning process, but we're getting there."
Sibley East finished third overall with 88 team points and was led by Justin Bennett, who was edged out by Joyce down the final stretch to finish 10th overall with a time of 19:22.
1. Mankato Loyola 37
2. Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial/Nicollet 57
3. SESM/SE/NUC 63
4. MVL 78
5. Sibley East 112
2. Brianna Polesky 16:42 (2 points)
13. Cassidy Hacker 17:57 (13)
14. Jenny Lax 17:57 (14)
15. Emily Schumacher 18:04 (15)
19. Kira DeMaris 19:10 (19)
27. Abigail Hagen 20:25
34. Anna Landkammer 20:49
5. Talia Otto 17:17 (5 points)
6. Cheyenne Bjorklund 17:27 (6)
17. Alexa Diersen 18:31 (17)
25. Brianna Sanders 19:56 (24)
28. Maria Muske 20:21 (26)
32. Emma Wendorff 20:32
41. Amber Reed 22:55
10. Alison Eibs 17:46 (10 points)
21. Maren Miner 19:23 (21)
22. Abigail Butler 19:32 (22)
29. Breanna Fahning 20:24 (27)
35. Karina Robeck 21:02 (32)
40. Tamara Ehrich 22:08
43. Heidi Milczark 23:55
1. Mankato Loyola 28
2. Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial/Nicollet 34
3. Sibley East 88
4. SESM/SE/NUC 100
5. MVL 116
9. Stephen Joyce 19:21 (9 points)
17. Ben Jakobitz 20:07 (17)
19. Nick DeMaris 20:33 (19)
27. Zac Long 21:50 (27)
29. Ruben Astorga 21:59 (28)
33. Caleb Kirchberg 22:06
34. Isaac Nelson 22:08
13. Peter Finken 19:43 (13 points)
18. Levi Stelljes 20:29 (18)
22. Jacob Grefe 20:47 (22)
32. Kyle Buch 22:04 (30)
35. Callahan Diersen 22:17 (33)
43. Joseph Finken 24:31
49, Ian Overn 26:33
10. Justin Bennett 19:22 (10 points)
12. Jack Ballalatak 19:32 (12)
20. Sam Thies 20:39 (20)
21. Kristian Schow 20:39 (21)
25. Ben Ahlstrand 21:36 (25)
26. Logan Tesch 21:45
31. Korban Strand 22:03