Cross country: Adrian's Slater, Worthington's Jirele look sharp
MARSHALL —Displaying exceptional balance in each varsity race at Independence Park Tuesday, the host Marshall Tigers claimed both team titles at their own 14-squad invitational high school cross country meet.
Marshall convincingly won the girls’ meet with a low score of 32 points on scoring places 3-5-6-7-11, finishing 33 points ahead of second place Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI.
Redwood Valley was third with 115, while Adrian —paced by the impressive second-place finish of senior veteran Nicole Slater —edged Worthington, 129-130, for fourth.
Following the Trojans, with complete team scores, were Murray County Central (144), Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (148), Windom (182) and Pipestone Area (219).
RV’s Kayla Huhnerkoch won the 4,000-meter girls’ race, clocking a time of 14:59.9.
Slater (15:13.3) outkicked Marshall’s lead runner Claire Boersma (15:15.5) in a close race for second.
“I had a lot of people cheering me on, which always helps,” exclaimed Slater as she was cheering for the Adrian boys later in the day. “It was a fun race against some very good girls.”
C/M/LH senior Leah Jessen, one of the area’s premier runners for years, finished fourth (15:36.4) and Marshall eighth-grader Nichole Sample was fifth (15:53.8).
Worthington was led by a fine 12th-place finish by Meredith Moore (16:36.7), followed closely by Alicia Darling (14th, 16:41.3).
“As usual, those two did a fine job leading us,” praised WHS head coach Ken Henkels. “We had a nice team score from our girls, getting good runs from all seven.”
Jessica Darling (28, 18:18.6), Olivia Ebbers (34, 19:33.1) and Kacey Contreras (42, 20:44.8) completed the scoring for the Trojans, while Ariana Lopez (44, 20:52.9) and Rachel Koller (45, 20:55.6) finished close behind Contreras.
T-M-B’s Cassandra Hook finished among the medalists, entering the chute with a ninth-place time of 16:22.9.
Adrian’s Morgan Sauer (16, 16:55.3), Windom’s Christianna Green (18, 17:00.1), PA’s Livia Wallace (20, 17:19.4), Southwest Christian’s Elise VerHey (23, 17:42.9) and MCC’s Sariah Cheadle (24, 17:46.4) were other area girls who finished in the top-25 of the 67-runner field.
Tiger boys nip Lancers on tiebreaker, Trojans place 3rd with 96 points
Through five runners, both Marshall and C/M/LH had 59 points, but the Tigers’ sixth runner finished ahead of the Lancers’ sixth, giving MHS the team title.
Worthington, paced by a stellar fourth-place performance by junior Matt Jirele, finished third in the team standings with 96 points.
Redwood Valley, led by individual winner Ryan Phillips, was a close fourth with a score of 101.
Filling out the list of complete teams were Yellow Medicine East (152), MCC (174), PA (180), Willmar Community Christian (186), Windom (225), Springfield/Cedar Mountain (230) and T-M-B (235).
Phillips covered the 5,000-meter course in 16:21.1, winning the race by more than 33 seconds.
Ben Burgett of WCC was second (16:54.6), followed in the top five by Marshall’s Andrew Bell (16:56.2), Jirele (16:58.7) and Marshall’s Blaine Moran (17:04.7).
“Getting fourth among that field of runners is pretty good,” exclaimed Henkels about Jirele’s finish. “He is off to a great start this season.”
Completing the scoring for Worthington were Amanual Fissiha (13th, 17:58.5), Anthony Luft (16, 17:59.4), Troy Feller (31, 19:28.6) and Jonah McDonald (32, 19:29.0).
Eighth-grader Jacob Prunty (37, 19:44.7) and Tyler VanHove (41, 19:57.2) also ran the course under 20 minutes for the Trojans.
PA eighth-grader Michael Suda finished 11th (17:46.7), T-M-B’s Matt Lavoy was 14th (17:58.9) and MCC runners Clayton Hartle (17, 18:02.0) and Andy Garza (19, 18:06.4) also placed among the top-25 in an 85-finisher field.
Woelber, Schuck, Salentiny win individual races
PA’s Tyl Woelber (15:03.4) won a dual with Southwestern United’s Logan Knutson (15:17.6) to win the 73-runner boys’ junior varsity 4,000-meter race.
Worthington’s Nathan Schuck paced the Trojans to the junior high boys’ team title by winning the 2,000-meter race with a time of 7:03.4.
Teammate Andrew Olson was fourth (7:23.0), followed by SWU’s Ben Sheldahl (7:25.8) and Brett Mueller (7:28.1) and Adrian’s Brady Henning (7:28.9) in the top seven among 69 finishers.
SWU’s Rachel Salentiny won the junior high girls’ race, clocked at 7:20.8, leading the Wildcats to the team title.
SWU’s MaKayla Edwards (7:38.2) finished third, while Adrian’s Moriah Bullerman (7:40.6), T-M-B’s Sarita Hook (7:53.8) and SWU’s Brianna Preston (8:07.4) completed the top six in a field of 53 finishers.