Adrian sweeps conference meet
SLAYTON -- On a cold, wet day -- when several area junior varsity football games were postponed or canceled -- the Red Rock Conference cross country meet was run as scheduled.
As expected, the Adrian Dragons dominated the event, winning both team titles and claiming an impressive 14 of the 20 all-conference individual awards. The Dragons had the individual champion in the girls' 4,000 meter race and had a 1-2-3-4 finish in the longer boys' 5,000 meter run.
"It was a great day for us," declared AHS head coach Doug Petersen. "This was the conference meet -- an event that we gear up for and want to establish a trend as we head for the post-season. We ran very well, as a team, in both varsity races."
Finishing as team runner-ups were Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin in the girls' race and Hills-Beaver Creek/Ellsworth in the boys' division.
Lynn wins fourth title, as Dragons five-peat
Adrian junior Morgan Lynn took the lead early and stretched it over the two-and-a-half mile distance, winning her fourth conference individual title with a time of 16 minutes, two seconds. Lynn won her first conference gold medal in 2003 as a seventh-grader, leading the Dragons to their first of five consecutive team championships. She repeated in 2004 and 2005, but was sidelined with an injury and did not run in last year's conference meet.
Behind Lynn, there were a pair of close battles as Adrian seventh-grader Jordin Kopplow and Murray County Central/Fulda junior Laura Christensen duked it out for second, and Adrian junior Leslie Stover -- the defending conference champion -- was being challenged by ML/B-O sophomore Petra Nelson for fourth.
After the top five, it was three straight Adrian runners -- seventh-grader Megan Sauer, freshman Hailee Heitkamp and eighth-grader Austyn Thier -- that locked up the team title for the Dragons.
Christensen (16:12) pulled away from Kopplow (16:16), and Stover (16:27) did the same to Nelson (16:35), giving Adrian a winning score of 21 (1-3-4-6-7).
"It was nice to be able to race again," said Stover, who ran in her first meet since over extending herself at the Griak Invitational Sept. 30. "All of the girls are running well and our team is coming together."
Petersen agreed, saying: "We ran at full strength today and it was great to have Leslie back -- she ran an exceptional race."
ML/B-O, paced by Nelson and the ninth-place finish of freshman Karina Fast (17:16), finished second with 56 points, followed by MCC/F (63) and H-BC/E (108). Southwest Christian and Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central were incomplete.
The trio of Sauer (16:51), Heitkamp (17:02) and Thier (17:07) finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, while Adrian's seventh runner -- freshman Natasha Slater -- completed the list of all-conference runners by placing 10th with a time of 17:30.
Reyne leads AHS boys to three-peat
Like Lynn in the girls' race, Adrian junior Chris Reisdorfer set the early pace with sophomore teammate Nate Reyne close behind. Southwest Christian senior Ethan Spronk positioned himself in third place, with W-WG/RRC senior Forrest Asp and Adrian sophomore Jordan Pater completing the top five after the cresting of "Big Bertha" for the first time.
The steep hill by the club house that the runners scale early in the race is known as "Big Bertha." While the girls climb the hill just once, the boys make the upward trek a second time, at the end of the second mile.
As the race progressed, Reyne caught Reisdorfer and eventually pulled away from his teammate, winning his first conference individual title with a time of 17:47.
Reisdorfer (18:05) held on to second, as Pater (18:08) and senior teammate Jack Albertson (18:29) gave Adrian the first four finishers.
"Jack has been getting stronger with each race," praised Petersen. "He really stepped it up today."
Albertson, who finished ninth in last year's conference meet, moved up progressively during the race, eventually passing the H-BC/E duo of Halden Van Wyhe and Tyler Paulsen and moving into fourth place.
"I just tried to pick up the pace and stride out more," said Albertson after the race. "It feels good to win the team title again."
Van Wyhe (18:31) and Paulsen (18:35) were both closing on Albertson by race's end, but were unable to catch Albertson -- who found a new gear in the final sprint to the finish.
While the efforts of the two Patriot juniors prevented a perfect score by the Dragons, they were chased to the chute by Kyle Henning, an Adrian junior, who was gaining on both Van Wyhe and Paulsen, before settling for seventh with a time of 18:42.
Those top five placings by the Dragons (1-2-3-4-7) gave Adrian a winning score of 17.
H-BC/E was a distant second with 65 points, followed by Southwest Christian (85), MCC/F (102), W-WG/RRC (108) and ML/B-O (152).
Spronk (18:48) finished eighth, while Adrian's sixth and seventh runners -- sophomores Zach Runia (18:54) and junior Brett Springman (18:55) -- completed the top 10, earning all-conference honors by placing ninth and 10th, respectively.
"Our boys, again, ran a bit better than we expected," concluded Petersen. "We are pleased with the progress of this group and proud of their accomplishment as conference team champions."