St. Peter's girls cross country team named national champions

Submitted by Patti Thomas
Posted12/12/2017 11:17 AM
  • The St. Peter Lutheran School Saints girls cross-country team with Coach Jeff Rodgers.

    The St. Peter Lutheran School Saints girls cross-country team with Coach Jeff Rodgers. Courtesy of St. Peter Lutheran School

An undefeated, record-breaking season was capped off recently by St. Peter Lutheran School's girls cross-country team when they earned the national championship title beating out 80 schools from across the country at the Concordia Wisconsin campus.

Led by head coach Jeff Rodgers, who recently completed his 13th Ironman competition, the team completed its perfect season by winning the national title for the first time in school history.

Seventh-grader Anna Harden led the way, winning the individual title along with setting a course record. She now holds it for both sixth grade and under girls division, as well as seventh-eighth grade girls. She is a three-time state and national champion.

Five St. Peter girls were also named All-Americans: Anna Harden, Mackenzie Ginder and Ellise Condon (first team), Emma VanMeveren (second team), and Olivia Harmon (third team).

Together, the girls' team scored the fewest number of points in the history of the national meet and had the lowest combined average time of 12:42.

Coach Jeff Rodgers led the team by example. While teams competed at the state championships, he competed in the Ironman World Championship and completed the challenging course in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Rodgers qualified through the Legacy Program after finishing 12 Ironmans since 2004.

"Our head coach is leading this team by example. This is a fantastic group of kids and coaches that represent what St. Peter is all about," said St. Peter Athletic Director Zach Bickel.

"It is a tremendous accomplishment, and we are proud of his personal achievement as he has led our program over the last five seasons. He is an amazing example of hard work, perseverance, and inspiration."

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