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Ben Sathre, 22, of Chaska on the way to a two-minute victory in 20:10 Saturday. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton.

Running: NCAA champ, Willmar grad capture first-place finishes

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Tribune Staff Report

WILLMAR -- One never knows who will show up race day.

Saturday morning in downtown Willmar, it was 2011 NCAA Division III cross country champion Ben Sathre of Chaska.

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The 22-year-old spring graduate of the University of St. Thomas won the 18th annual Foot Lake 4-mile run, hosted by Rice Memorial Hospital.

His time of 20:10 (a 5:03.3 per mile average) put him more than two minutes up on another former MIAC runner, Austin Hinrichs, 23, the Clara City native who ran for Bethel College.

Hinrichs finished the circuit around lower Foot Lake in 22:26. That was just four seconds in front of emerging talent Ben Burgett, 15, of Spicer and Community Christian School in Willmar, who ran in both distance events at the Class A state meet two weeks ago.

Kirsten Higdem, former state-meet runner for the Willmar Cardinals and St. Olaf College claimed the Women's Division championship. The 27-year-old pediatric nurse at the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital hit the finish line at Second Street and Becker Avenue Southwest in 26:12.

Kathryn Stainaker, 20, of Clara City was the second female in 27:16 followed by Susan (Schweitzer) Engelhart, 36, of Jordan in 27:34. Engelhart, a 1994 Willmar grad, had one of the six age-group records set. In fourth, also in an age-group record, was 13-year-old Sophie Schmitz of Willmar.

A total of 473 runners (499 registered) got times. Last year 430 ran. Registered walkers were estimated by race director Sandra Schlagel at 100 to 150, a number not tabulated until Monday.

Conditions were near ideal, under light overcast with the temperature in the mid-60s.

Sathre and Higdem both received first-place checks for $100.

Sathre, who has grandparents in Dassel, ran here for the first time. He hopes to gain a sponsorship and compete at the professional level. He also is the 2011-12 NCAA champion in the 5000-meter indoor and 5,000-meter outdoor with a personal best time of 14:10.

Footnotes

n Higdem lives with her sister Kari in uptown Minneapolis. Kari, who has an art degree, ran for Columbia University in New York City. Kirsten still own the female 15-16 record (28:35 in 2001). Kari's 2001 13-14 record fell to young Cardinals runner Sophie Schmitz who scalped nearly a minute down to 27:37. Grace Graves, another Cardinal, lowered the 12-and-under standard by 1:24.

n Ann Day just moved into a new age class and not surprisingly set a record. She now has four records on the FL-4 board.

n Sathre's 20:10 time is blazing but well short of Montevideo native Greg Liebl's 19:36 course record in 2007. He made a point to race here because his grandparents, Gordy and Arlene Sathre of Dassel, have seldom had the chance to see him run but they did get to witness their grandson's win this time.

n Joe Schneiderhan of Alexandria set the only male age-group standard, Male 45-49 23:03. He lowered Mark Nelson's 2001 time by eight seconds. Nelson is Schneiderhan's neighbor and running companion in Alexandria, where Nelson coaches Alexandria's distance runners. Nelson still reins in the 50-54 group.

n Next up in the Glacial Lakes Championship Running Series is the Green Lake 12-mile run on Sunday. See pickleevents for details. Some of the runners talked to on Saturday had run at Grandma's seven days before, completing either the half or full marathon.

n Two young Cardinal distance runners Grace Graves and Sophie Schmitz each set age group records.

Top Finishers

Female Top 25

(1) Kirsten Higdem, 27, Minneapolis, 26:12 (2) Kathryn Stalnaker, 20, Clara City, 27:16 (3) Susan Engelhart, 36, Jordan, 27:34 (4) Sophie Schmitz, 13, Willmar, 27:37 (5) Tracy Sik, 42, Willmar, 27:51 (6) Jessa Hanson, 13, Spicer, 28:32 (7) Alaina Burgess, 30, White Bear Lake, 28:33 (8) Grace Graves, 12, Spicer, 28:35 (9) Lori Gehrking, 50, Willmar, 28:58 (10) Emily Dahl, 24, LaCrosse, Wis., 29:16

(11) Beth Van Gulijk, 46, New London, 29:20 (12) Kristen Woelfel, 36, Belgrade, 29:37 (13) Karen Twedt, 33, Willmar, 29:45 (14) Polly Ahrens, 36, Renville, 29:55 (15) Kayla Barber, 30, New London, 30:03 (16) Ingrid Figenskau, 14, Spicer, 30:09 (17) Jen Rauk, 38, Northfield, 30:13 (18) Hillary Brink, 20, Spicer, 30:28 (19) Kelly Kvaal, 14, Dawson, 30:33 (20) Alexis Miley, 15, Willmar, 30:35

(21) Alisa Johnson, 33, Pennock, 30:56 (22) Sara Sand, 35, Spicer, 31:06 (23) Kale Barrett-Murphy, 13, Willmar, 31:08 (24) Ana Lucia Mo Demestri, 23, Willmar, 31:11 (25) Katie Swenson, 38, Willmar, 31:15

Male Top 25

(1) Ben Sathre, 22, Chaska, 20:10 (2) Austin Hinrichs, 23, Roseville, 22:26 (3) Ben Burgett, 15, Spicer, 22:30 (4) Joe Schneiderhan, 46, Alexandria, 23:03 (5) Joel Dudgeon, 45, Wabasso, 23:26 (6) Thomas Seifert, 16, Willmar, 23:54 (7) Sam Anez, 16, Willmar, 24:15 (8) Kyle Schulte, 20, Olivia, 24:25 (9) Ryan Sawyer, 17, Willmar, 24:44 (10) Martin Janning, 47, Willmar, 24:51

(11) Klinton VanHeuveln, 19, Pennock, 24:53 (12) Austin Miley, 16, Willmar, 24:59 (13) Ian Thompson, 14, Willmar, 25:18 (14) Michael Quinn, 38, Willmar, 25:25 (15) Justin Haats, 24, Spicer, 25:28 (16) Jeff Sawatzky, 24, Willmar, 25:29 (17) Kai Christianson, 16, Spicer, 25:30 (18) Steven Lueders, 48, Kandiyohi, 25:31 (19) Kevin VanHeuveln, 50, Pennock, 25:36 (20) George Dornbach, 16, Edina, 25:45

(21) Luis Terrones, 33, Renville, 25:48 (22) Eric Lewis, 48, Spicer, 26:05 (23) Brian Bonnema, 17, Prinsburg, 26:16 (24) Bryant Pfingsten, 17, Spicer, 26:16 (25) Andrew Hendrickson, 32, Willmar, 26:17

Female age-group leaders

12 and under: (1) Grace Graves, Spicer, 28:35* (2) Cassidy Hanson, Willmar, 35:21

Ages 13-14: (1) Sophie Schmitz, Willmar, 27:37* (2) Jessa Hanson, Spicer, 28:32

Ages 15-16: (1) Alexis Miley, Willmar, 30:35 (2) Ashlyn Boehme, Kandiyohi, 31:26

Ages 17-19: (1) Spencer Erickson, New London, 31:47 (2) Jessica Degroot, Prinsburg, 32:03

Ages 20-24: (1) Kathryn Stalnaker, Clara City, 27:16 (2) Emily Dahl, La Crosse, Wis., 29:16

Ages 25-29: (1) Kirsten Higdem, Minneapolis, 26:12 (2) Casey Elfering, Olivia, 32:02

Ages 30-34: (1) Alaina Burgess, White Bear Lake, 28:33 (2) Karen Twedt, Willmar, 29:45

Ages 35-39: (1) Susan Engelhart, Jordan, 27:34* (2) Kristen Woelfel, Belgrade, 29:37

Ages 40-44: (1) Tracy Sik, Willmar, 27:51 (2) Rayette Schramm, Willmar, 31:49

Ages 45-49: (1) Beth Van Gulijk, New London, 29:20 (2) Deb Hoberg, Danube, 32:03

Ages 50-54: (1) Lori Gehrking, Willmar, 28:58 (2) Tina Klosterboer, Montevideo, 32:47

Ages 55-59: (1) Wendy Nelsen, Willmar, 32:09 (2) Mardi Eckhoff, Willmar, 34:50

Ages 60-64: (1) Carol Wood, Willmar, 36:02 (2) Kathryn Smith, Spicer, 37:40

Ages 65-69: (1) Ann Day,* Willmar, 36:49 (2) Ramona Berg, Willmar, 43:44

Age 70 and up: (1) Joyce VanHeuveln,* Kerkhoven, 46:35

*New record

Male age-group leaders

Ages 12 and under: (1) Donald Jurek, Willmar, 29:52 (2) Brandan Hoberg, Danube. 32:00

Ages 13-14: (1) Ian Thompson, Willmar, 25:18 (2) Jack Erickson, Willmar, 26:19

Ages 15-16: (1) Ben Burgett, Spicer, 22:30 (2) Thomas Seifert, Willmar, 23:54

Ages 17-19: (1) Ryan Sawyer, Willmar, 24:44 (2) Klinton VanHeuveln, Pennock, 24:53

Ages 20-24: (1) Ben Sathre, Chaska, 20:10 (2) Austin Hinrichs, Roseville, 22:26

Ages 25-29: (1) Geoff Gilbertson, Willmar, 27:28 (2) Robb Grussing, Maynard, 29:15

Ages 30-34: (1) Luis Terrones, Renville, 25:48 (2) Andrew Hendrickson, Willmar, 26:17

Ages 35-39: (1) Michael Quinn, Willmar, 25:25 (2) Eric Hagen, New London, 27:46

Ages 40-44: (1) Jamie Haugen, Bird Island, 26:59 (2) William Lorenz, Benson, 27:11

Ages 45-49: (1) Joe Schneiderhan*, Alexandria, 23:03 (2) Joel Dudgeon, Wabasso, 23:26

Ages 50-54: (1) Kevin VanHeuveln, Pennock, 25:36 (2) Ron Guetter, Willmar, 26:46

Ages 55-59: (1) Allen Saunders, Benson, 27:28 (2) Bryan Degroot, Prinsburg, 29:06

Ages 60-64: (1) Edward Haag, Marshall, 31:24 (2) Forrest Peterson, Willmar, 32:50

Ages 65-69: (1) Raymond Cyr, Willmar, 33:16 (2) Jerry Isley, Willmar, 35:35

Age 70 and up: (1) Connie Newman, Ortonville, 31:32 (2) John Lambin, Willmar, 35:08

*New record

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