FAIRMONT - Fairmont freshman Jenna Pavich didn't finish in the top five individually last year at the Early Bird Invitational cross country meet in Fairmont, placing third on the Cardinals' varsity team.
But 2013 is a new year, and Pavich took home the first-place overall finish in helping the Cardinals to a first-place team finish on Friday near Fairmont High School.
As Pavich was racing to a freshman-record time of 16 minutes, 51.5 seconds in the 4K race, New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva senior T.J. Schiltz defended his individual boys title with a time of 13:47.7.
MAKING STRIDES — Fairmont cross country teammates Hannah Johnson (front) and Emily Haugen accelerate down the backstretch and sprint toward the finish line during Friday’s season-opening Early Bird Invitational near Fairmont High School. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)
Pavich was not alone atop the individual finishers, as teammate Katiana Fischer helped the Cardinals to a 1-2 finish in their winning effort.
"I was very happy with the depth of the girls team today. We were able to get a 1-2 finish, which was great and we had a lot of the girls who were running really close together," said Fairmont head coach Bob Bonk. "Overall, for the first meet action of the season, I am very pleased with how both teams ran today."
Fischer ran to the program's junior-record time of 16:55.9 during her age division.
United South Central senior and 2012 invite champion Emily Mantor was on hand to see her teammate Tenley Schwartz claim fourth place overall, but was unable to defend her title because of an ankle injury.
Both Schiltz and Mantor went on to successful seasons last fall after winning the Early Bird Invite. Schiltz finished 17th at the Class A state cross country meet last fall before claiming eighth in the 3,200-meter run at the Class A state track and field meet last spring.
Mantor, likewise, also succeeded at the state level, finishing fourth in the Class A cross country meet and placed fifth in the 2-mile run in the Class A state track and field meet.
Friday, however, the Cardinal girls showed their new depth by surpassing the field for the first-place team effort, while the Fairmont boys earned some quality finishes and claimed third place as a team.
In addition to Pavich and Fischer's top-five finishes, eighth-grader Hannah Johnson also crept in for a fifth-place time of 17:51.5.
Emily Haugen was just behind her teammate in the freshman race, coming in with the Cardinals' fourth time of 17:53.3, while Sarah Bartz completed the team time with a finish of 18:01.3.
Blue Earth Area defending Class A state track and field hurdle champion Taylor Grandgenett showed her stamina as she placed second in the sophomore race, finishing in 18:35.2 to top the Bucs.
Grandgenett, who finished 87th in last fall's Class A state cross country meet, along with Shayna Stevermer and Mariah Halvorson, made up the top three finishes for the Bucs, coming in at 18:47.4 and 19:07.4, respectively.
Jenna Stevermer and Athena Peterson completed Blue Earth Area's fourth-place team effort with times of 20:31.1 and 20:33.5, respectively.
Fairmont senior Zac Ehlert broke his own Fairmont record at the Early Bird Invite from two years ago as he cruised to a third-place overall finish and first-place team time of 14:28.
"For the guys, I was pleasantly surprised with our finish both as individuals, with Zac (Ehlert), Christopher (Poush) and Kaleb Linse," said Bonk.
Poush posted Fairmont's second-place finish in 15:06.4, while Linse came in at 15:35.5 for third on the team. Sanguja Hassan and Brian Wilde completed the team's total effort with times of 15:46.2 and 16:57.3, respectively.
The Blue Earth Area boys, who were without junior Mike Ankeny due to injury, managed a fifth-place team finish.
Sophomore Zach Vaske raced to a team-leading finish of 15:29, while freshman Seth Becker cruised across the line at 16:08.8.
"Zach Vaske put in a lot of work over the summer on his running and it showed already early in this meet," said Blue Earth Area head coach Tom Plocker. "Today's times overall weren't spectacular, but they were good efforts, and it was great to get back to the racing part of the season."
Sophomore Jordan Stelter, senior Kyle Mercer and junior Alex Benson rounded out the Bucs' efforts, finishing in 16:15.1, 16:51.2 and 18:09.4, respectively.
Fairmont and Blue Earth Area both travel to the Mountain Lake Area Invitational at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Mountain Lake.
EARLY BIRD CROSS
Varsity Girls (4K)
Team Standings (Top 5 indivudal times): 1. Fairmont 1:27; Jackson County Central 1:34; 3. St. Peter 1:37; 4. Blue Earth Area 1:38; 5. LeSueur Henderson 1:47; 6. St. James 1:48; 7. New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva. Incomplete teams: Medford and United South Central.
Individual Girls Results
Top 5 Overall: 1. Jenna Pavich (F) 16:51.5; 2. Katiana Fischer (F) 16:55.9; 3. Abigail Borgmeier (SP) 17:20.8; 4. Tenley Schwartz (USC) 17:32.3; 5. Hannah Johnson (F) 17:51.5.
Fairmont (Top 5): Jenna Pavich 16:51.5; Katiana Fischer 16:55.9; Hannah Johnson 17:51.5; Emily Haugen 17:53.3; Sarah Bartz 18:01.3.
Other Fairmont runners: Jaclyn Friese 18:10.1; Molly Hawkins 18:11.6; Sasha Riley 18:44; Anna Hernes 18:45.2; Sarah Ostline 19:24.5; Miranda Mathiason 19:48.6; Brenna Wohlrabe 23:41.4; Julie Fleming 24:19.5; Lydia Johnson 24:21.3; Rachel Botzet 25:31.0.
Blue Earth Area (Top 5): Taylor Grandgenett 18:35.2; Shayna Stevermer 18:47.4; Mariah Halvorson 19:07.4; Jenna Stevermer 20:31.1; Athena Peterson 20:33.5.
Other Blue Earth Area runners: Makenzie Slette 21:08.9; Zoe Thompson 21:21.7; Jalyssa Wilson 21:59.3; Alexis Brooks 22:09.2; Anna Aukes 22:56.2; Rowan Hacken 24:31.1; Madeline Jenkins 31:11.0.
Varsity Boys (4K)
Team Standings (Top 5 individual times): 1. United South Central 1:15.05; 2. St. James 1:17.45; 3. Fairmont 1:17.52; 4. LSH 1:18.07; 5. NRHEG 1:23.23; 6. Blue Earth Area 1:23.47; 7. Jackson County Central 1:27.43. Incomplete teams: Medford and St. Peter.
Individual Boys Results
Top 5 Overall: 1. T.J. Schiltz (NRHEG) 13:47.7; 2. Cody Vacek (SP) 14:23.9; 3. Zac Ehlert (F) 14:28.0; 4. Brian Remington (USC) 14:40.3; 5. Logan Thomsen (USC) 14:51.2.
Fairmont (Top 5): Zac Ehlert 14:28.0; Christopher Poush 15:06.4; Kaleb Linse 15:35.5; Saguja Hassan 15:46.2; Brian Wilde 16:57.3.
Other Fairmont runners: Harley Luhmann 19:43.4; Colin Meadows 20:28.8; Jaxson Jurgens 20:45.6.
Blue Earth Area (Top 5): Zach Baske 15:29.0; Seth Becker 16:08.8; Jordan Stelter 16:15.1; Kyle Mercer 16:51.2; Alex Benson 18:09.4.
Other Blue Earth Area runners: Adam Buseman 18:28.7; Gabe Jacobsen 19:02.0; Jaxx Jacobsen 19:45.1; John Lindsey 20:18.3; Jack Nimz 21:10.1.
8th Grade (1 Mile)
1. Cody Lane (F) 5:40.4, 2. Ricardo Vite (SJ) 5:46.4, 3. Seth Carlmark (F) 5:50.2.
Fairmont runners: Iliana Ramon 6:02.5, Nathan Willett 6:05.1, Megan Hawkins 6:10.9, Lizzy Subbert 6:14.1, Dayton Pasch 6:16.9, Adam Carstensen 6:22.3, Noah Wolter 6:28.9, Anna Sundblad 6:43.8, Colin Stone 6:55.9, Emma Koehler 7:02.5, Annie Mittelstadt 7:12.3, Elora Ramon 7:12.7, Alyssa Fetters 7:13.9, Lexi Fischer 7:27.6, Madison Pierce 8:04.5, Ben Hernes 8:24.5.
6th-7th Grades (1 Mile)
1. Lane Schwarz (LSH) 6:07.5, 2. Michael Heinz (LSH) 6:19.2, 3. John Mantor (USC) 6:32.5.
Fairmont runners: Isaiah Johnson 6:27.9, Blake Haugen 6:28.3, Grace Higgins 6:29.6, Darrian Kueker 6:39.7, Dylan Muller 7:01.4, Bethany Linse 7:11.8, Wil Hillmer 8:01.6.