WORTHINGON — Adrian senior Nicole Slater has enjoyed a remarkable career as distance runner in both track and cross country.
Thursday, at the Prairie View Golf Links on a near-perfect day, Slater impressively won the 4,000-meter (2.5 miles) varsity girls’ race of the 46th annual Turkey Trot high school cross country meet.
“It was an awesome day and a nice course,” summed up Slater, who clocked a time of 15:17.8 and finished 58 seconds ahead of the rest of the 109-runner field from 13 competing teams. “I just went with how I felt, which was pretty good all the way.”
While Slater was continually pulling away from the pack, Southwestern United eighth-grader Rachel Salentiny — who was running her first varsity race of the season after three consecutive first-place finishes in junior high meets — smoothly broke away from a closely-knit group of contenders and claimed the second-place trophy with a time of 16:15.8.
Morgan Larson (16:25.1) and Brooke Anderson (16:26.4), both of Martin County West, finished third and fourth, respectively, just edging Worthington’s duo of junior Alicia Darling (16:26.8) and sophomore Meredith Moore (16:27.4).
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton junior Cassandra Hook (16:28.5) finished seventh, as places 3-7 entered the chute within 3.4 seconds of each other.
Adrian junior Morgan Sauer (ninth, 16:32.5) also claimed an individual trophy (top 10), while Mountain Lake Area junior Lydia Hildebrandt (16:37.6) and Pipestone Area eighth-grader Angel Martins (16:41.9), just missed as they finished 11th and 12th , respectively.
Fairmont, led by the eighth-place finish of freshman Jenna Pavich (16:32.0), utilized its fine team balance to win the team title with its low score of 61 points on scoring places 7-9-12-16-17.
MCW, led by Larson and Anderson, was second with 86 points (2-3-15-28-38), while Worthington (4-5-33-34-43) earned third place in the standings with a score of 119.
MLA edged PA, 126-128, for fifth, while T-M-B (135), Adrian (142), Jackson County Central (156), St. James (174) and Windom (237) also had complete team scores.
SWU, Southwest Christian and Murray County Central were all incomplete.
While Darling and Moore ran great lead runs to lead WHS, the Trojans received good performances from six other girls, as well.“Alicia and Meredith went out hard from the beginning and got up with the leaders right away,” praised WHS head coach Ken Henkels. “They both ran tough races from start to finish, and Olivia Ebbers really stepped it up and came through with a great effort, running her best race of the season.”
Eighth-grader Jessica Darling (40th overall, 33rd team scoring) was Worthington’s third finisher (18:22.9), while Ebbers (42, 34, 18:32.4) was close behind.
Ariana Lopez (54, 43, 19:03.4), eighth-grader Brianna Newman (55, 44, 19:06.4),
Kacey Contreras (62, 50, 19:41.3) and Rachel Koller (63, 19:49.3) each ran the course in less than 20 minutes.
Windom freshman Christianna Green (15, 14, 16:54.1), SWC’s Elise Ver Hey (16, 17:00.4) and PA freshman Livia Wallace (20, 18, 17:18.6) were other area runners who finished among the top 20.
JCC was led by freshman Annika Lilleberg (22, 20, 17:21.6) and MCC was paced by senior Melissa Gehl (26, 17:43.7).
SWU’s MaKayla Edwards won the 1,600-meter junior high girls’ race with a time of 6:05.5.
Other area girls who finished among the top 20 were JCC’s Jessica Christoffer (second, 6:12.5), T-M-B’s Sarita Hook (fourth, 6:17.7), JCC’s Molly Boyum (sixth, 6:21.3), SWU’s Brianna Preston (seventh, 6:21.6), Adrian’s Moriah Bullerman (eighth, 6:25.0), SWU’s Cheyenne Schaffer (10, 6:31.4), SWC’s Anika Brands (14, 6:47.3), Adrian’s Halle Headlamp (16, 6:51.3), JCC’s Elise Rasmussen (17, 6:53.6), SWC’s Emily Nerem (19, 7:00.3) and SWC’s Kailyn Jasper (20, 7:00.8).
Fairmont won the team title with 40 points, followed by JCC (73), SWU (78), SWC (94), Adrian (113), T-M-B (115) and MLA (183), while the other six were incomplete.