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Packer country team hosts JM, prepares for Big Nine Meet

The Packers made some lasting impressions in their final home meet of the season at the Mower County Fairgrounds Tuesday.

The Austin boys beat Rochester John Marshall 22-33 and the Austin girls lost to JM 24-35.

Austin senior Jackson Marsh ran away with the boys race and he was followed by his sophomore teammates Thomas Herrick, who took second, and Joseph Garry, who finished third. Marsh logged in a time of 17:06.8 in his final varsity cross country race in Austin.

From left, Austin’s Joseph Garry and Thomas Herrick run through the Mower County Fairgrounds at a dual meet in Austin Tuesday. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

“It’s a special meet,” Marsh said. “I’ve been on the team since I was in seventh grade and it’s always good to run in front of the home fans. It’s good to end it with a win.”

Marsh is one of the few seniors on Austin’s roster and he’s hoping the younger Packers — including seventh grader Thomas Asmus, who took sixth on Tuesday — continue to work hard in the future.

“I have really high expectations for them and I think they can blow them out of the water,” Marsh said. “We’ve got a young team and I think the future is really bright. I’m trying to build a running culture here and we’re building that culture a day at a time.”

Austin’s Jackson Marsh treads through the course at the Mower County Fairgrounds Tuesday. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Austin’s Marissa Shute may only be an eighth grader, but she’s already learned how to find self motivation when there aren’t a lot of runners on the course.

Shute set a new standard for herself as she ran a personal best time of 19:54.4 in the process of edging out Rochester JM’s Greta Freed by seven seconds. Shute had to pick up the pace down the stretch to hold off Freed, but in reality she was racing the clock as she never knew how close Freed was.

“I didn’t really look behind, but I just gave what I had left in the tank. I just went all out,” Shute said. “I kind of needed to test myself before (Big Nine). Everything hurt, but I still found the drive to get the kick in at the end.”

Shute used Tuesday’s race as a litmus test for what she plans on aiming for at the Big Nine meet in Owatonna Oct. 8.

Austin’s Cassidy Shute and Grace Vortherms run ahead of a pack of Rochester John Marshall runners at the Mower County Fairgrounds Tuesday. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

The conference race will have Shute and the Packers running against two other teams as the meet will be divided into four races. That means all runners will need to give it their and all hope for the best, as they’ll have no idea what the winning time will be.

Shute is hoping to get her time down to 19:40 for the Big Nine meet.

“It’ll be a mental game and I’ll be pushing myself,” she said. “This year without racing against very many other teams, you kind of have to get out strong and stay strong. I measure myself to see where I’m at every mile to make sure I’m going hard.”

BOYS RESULTS

Austin: Jackson Marsh (first, 17:06.8); Thomas Herrick (second, 17:36); Joseph Garry (third, 17:40.3); Thomas Asmus (sixth, 18:27.4); Kyle Mayer (10th, 18:58.3); Alex Petrik (11th, 19:15.16)

GIRLS RESULTS

Austin: Marissa Shute (first, 19:54.4); Grace Vortherms (fifth, 22:26.7); Cassidy Shute (sixth, 22:38.8); Lauren Schmitt (14th, 23:56.2); Micah Weber (15th, 24:20.7); Lily Quandt (18th, 26:00.7)

Thomas Asmus heads down the finish line for the Packers at the Mower County Fairgrounds Tuesday. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

BOYS RESULTS

Austin: Jackson Marsh (first, 17:06.8); Thomas Herrick (second, 17:36); Joseph Garry (third, 17:40.3); Thomas Asmus (sixth, 18:27.4); Kyle Mayer (10th, 18:58.3); Alex Petrik (11th, 19:15.16)

GIRLS RESULTS

Austin: Marissa Shute (first, 19:54.4); Grace Vortherms (fifth, 22:26.7); Cassidy Shute (sixth, 22:38.8); Lauren Schmitt (14th, 23:56.2); Micah Weber (15th, 24:20.7); Lily Quandt (18th, 26:00.7)

Austin’s Cassidy Shute and Grace Vortherms run ahead of a pack of Rochester John Marshall runners at the Mower County Fairgrounds Tuesday. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com