Alex Ondler a the State meet 2012. Photos submitted
By Tom O'Leary
Alex Ondler competed at the State Cross Country meet at St Olaf College in Northfield on Nov 3. The day was perfect for running with cool temperatures, little or no wind and a field of state competitors to challenge. Yet, before he reached race day, a lot of preparation needed to take place.
"It's great to have teammates working out with me," said Ondler at practice following the Section meet, "yet because I'm competing as an individual, I feel a little bit like a lone wolf". Alex wasn't alone very often during his prep for the big meet. Teammates practiced with him, pushing his pace in the speed sessions and offering support by joining him on a preview of the race course in Northfield. They also joined him for a pre-race dinner, and of course, they were there on race day.
"The pre-race dinner was interesting." Said coach O'Leary "Alex is a fun loving guy who happens to eat an inordinate amount of bacon on the night before the big race, but hey, he earned it."
Ondler approached the meet with a confident sense of calm. "I want to finish in a better position than last year, and run a faster time than last year." Said Ondler. He accomplished both of those goals, finishing 62nd out of 175 runners in a time of 17:04. That's 12 positions better then 2011, and 27 seconds faster. The improvement of 12 positions is an even greater accomplishment then it appears, as the field had 25 more runners then it did in 2011.
"We're really proud of how Alex raced all season, and to wrap it up with a strong performance at State is a bit of icing on the cake." Said O'Leary. "Alex is an example to all, that with dedicated effort, focus and drive, you can achieve at a very high level."
Along with Alex's strong results, Section 1A was well represented with six boys and three girls earning All-State honors. The top Section 1A results follow:
6th place-Ian Torchia, Rochester Lourdes
11th place-Richard Swanson, Kingsland
13th place-Pat Reinschmitt, PEM
18th place-Matt Schrupp, Winona Cotter
23rd place-Matt Dammann, Lake City
25th place-Emilio Taveiho, Winona Cotter
2nd place-Emi Trost, Cannon Falls
10th place-Kayla Woltz, Chatfield
23rd place-Katie Shepherson, La Crescent
Section 1A team results saw Winona Cotter taking home 5th place for the boys, while PEM finished 9th. On the Girls side of things, it was Dover-Eyota in 5th place and Rochester Lourdes in 9th.