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Malta Cross Country 2020

M-ettes welcome back strong core of runners


September 9, 2020

The Malta Cross Country team is eight strong in 2020, welcoming familiar faces while welcoming two new freshmen to the team.

Malta lost Kaycee Bond and Jillian O’Brien to graduation last spring. Bond was the team’s Most Improved Runner both 2017 and 2018, earning that award with a good work ethic and improving each meet, according to Malta Head Coach Thea Solberg. O’Brien was a Co-Most Valuable Runner her freshman year, Hardest Worker both 2017 and 2018, and Most Improved Runner her senior year 2019.

Coach Solberg said that O’Brien’s best state performance came last year despite having to run through over three inches of snow.

The team retained their top runner from 2019; Leslie Young. Young was named the team’s Most Valuable Runner in both 2018 and 2019. Coach Solberg said that Young has been leading the team during practices and even though she has plenty of experience, Young has been very coachable.

Kirsta Meisdalen is another team leader from last season. Meisdalen has constantly second throughout practices.

“Kirsta has come into the season working hard and looking much stronger and more experienced as she starts her second season as a cross country runner,” Coach Solberg said.

Deion Lefdahl, who is a sophomore and new to the sport has been a good surprise for the team so far this season.

“Deion is looking stronger with each practice, running in the third spot on the team and it will be exciting to see her develop into a strong competitive runner as the season goes on,” Coach Solberg said.

Coach Solberg said that the team is getting is getting stronger with each practice. The team also returns junior Nikki Nicholson and sophomore Izzie Hallenberg returning from last season. Aubri Werk, a sophomore, and freshman Madyson Warburton and Karley Weston are new to the program.

Like all other teams around the country, Malta’s distance runners were unsure if sporting events would take place this fall. Coach Solberg is extremely relieved that the team is able to run.

“We are really excited to have the fall sports season start, especially when the sports were not allowed to take place this past spring,” Coach Solberg said. “It feels great to once again be back together, to be with your peers and teammates and begin the process of getting ready for competition.”

The team started practices mid-August and it hasn’t exactly been under the easiest of conditions. Coach Solberg has found ways to encourage the team to work through the elements.

“The weather the past two weeks has proved to be challenging along with the workouts,” Coach Solberg said. “Our first practice was one of the hottest ones we’ve ever run, with temperatures soaring to around 102 degrees, but thankfully the popsicles at the end of the run were deliciously cooling and just what we needed.”

After struggling through the heat, the team then decided to run earlier in the morning when the start of school was delayed. The team has been working on adding more distance to their runs. On day one the tean started with a two-mile run.

“We continue to add distance all season building up to six mile runs, working on speed drills, and hill runs to build strength,” Coach Solberg said. “We do dynamic stretching, agilities, core work, and static stretching.”

Coach Solberg is again joined by Assistant Coach Fallon Handley.

“It’s just exciting to be able to get back together again and have a sports season this fall with all the uncertainties and all the stress over the past several months,” Coach Solberg said.


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