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Tigers' 2008 run ends at State

Stefan Lemke was recognized at the Fall Athletic Awards program for his participation in the Minnesota State Cross Country meet.

The 2008 cross country season at Morris Area ran all the way to the 2008 state girls' and boys' cross country meet in St. Olaf, where Stefan Lemke represented the Tigers, finishing the race in the middle of the pack.

The Tigers adjusted well to new coach, Matt Balken, after many years under the wing of Marv Meyer. Having a new coach never slowed down Lemke, who qualified for the state meet by placing seventh at the Section 6A meet in New London with a personal-best time of 17:23.47.

"What a thrill for a first-year coach to go to state," said Balken at the Fall Sports Awards program.

Another highlight for the new coach, as well as the team, was first-place finishes for both the girls and the boys at Ortonville on Sept. 25.

Balken, who has coached before coming to Morris Area, was impressed with the Tigers' effort and commitment to running.

"They have more self discipline than I've ever seen," said Balken. "They just wanted to keep going."

During his remarks at the awards program, Balken explained that cross country is not just an individual sport, but also a team sport. He said the Tigers shared his philosophy and were always trying to better themselves in order to help the team.

"We're proud to have bettered ourselves, our team, and our school."