ALBANY -

Twenty-one years ago, when Albany cross country needed help, Fred Baertschi was there to lend a hand. The Comets' cross country team didn't have a course to host meets and Baertschi's land was the perfect place. So they asked Fred if they could use his land. Fred replied, simply, "Yes."

Baertschi's land is ideal for cross country. It includes trails of all terrain-- hills, fields, wooded areas, and even a creek. 

"It's a true cross country course" adds current Albany cross country coach Tony Brewer. 

For 21 years Albany has been hosting the Baertschi Invite. It started with just six to eight teams, has grown rapidly. This year's Invite included 29 teams. Residents reported anywhere from 3,000-5,000 people in attendance. 

"We didn't get a count on how many were there, but it was full" Fred says. 

This weekend, Albany hosts their Division Two sectional meet for the first time ever. According to Brewer, it wouldn't be possible without Fred's good will all those years ago. 

"What he's given to this community and this town, I can't even put it into words."