Magnolia boys shine at Junior Olympic Nationals

Two Magnolia 12-year olds, Andy Reischling and Alex Lanser, finished among the top 50 runners in the Junior Olympic National Championships for cross country Dec. 12, in Reno, Nev.

Running over a snow-packed 3,000-meter course on a snowy day against a field of the 233 top-qualified runners in the nation, the boys finished 24th and 47th respectively, with Reischling taking All-American honors for his top 25 finish. They were also the top two finishers for their cross country team, Federal Way Track Club. The pair led the team to a fifth place finish in the nation for their age category.

Reischling and Lanser are sometimes teammates, sometimes friendly rivals, competing for different parochial schools in the Seattle Archdiocese cross country and track programs. But they often train together for Junior Olympics. Over the past two years, they've traded wins and developed mutual respect and admiration for each other's talent, which has helped drive them in training and encouraged them in competition against the best from every region of the country.

While proud of their successes at the National Championships, their parents and coaches are most proud of the dedication and hard work the boys display.

"I'm just so proud of him," said Kari Lanser, Alex's mom. "He finished 47th and was shooting to be in the top 50."

To get ready for nationals, the boys had to train in rain and cold weather, hustle along the weaving trails, through the woods and up and down the hills of Discovery Park. They also ran evening interval workouts among the shadows on the track at Seattle Pacific University.

I just tried my hardest and ran a great race," Alex Lanser said. "I want to continue in the Junior Olympics. My dream is to run in the Olympics."

The two Magnolia boys are not only the fastest distance runners of their age in town but also among the elite young runners in the country.

That doesn't surprise their coach, Gordon Lanser, who said each boy loves to run, enjoys competition, trains hard, and carries himself on and off the track with quiet confidence.

"In short, they behave like champions," Gordon Lanser said. "Evidently, they also keep good company."[[In-content Ad]]