Cross country: Trojans' Jirele 2nd in big Tracy meet
TRACY — Paced by a stong second-place performance by Matt Jirele, along with strong supporting finishes by the rest of Worthington’s boys’ varsity, the Trojans placed second among more than 20 teams participating in the Panther Invitational high school cross country meet Thursday at the Tracy Country Club.
Jirele clocked a 5,000-meter time of 17 minutes and 43 seconds, finishing 20 seconds ahead of third-place finisher Travis Dinius of the combination of Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI.
Dinius was C/M/LH’s lead runner, pacing the Lancers to an impressive team victory (3-5-8-9-10) with 35 points.
The Lancers made a sweep of the varsity team titles, as C/M/LH’s girls also finished at the top of the standings with 70 points.
Individually, Adrian’s Nicole Slater was the area’s best finisher, placing second with a 4,000-meter time of 15:53.
Worthington’s Alicia Darling also claimed an individual medal (top 10) by finishing ninth with a time of 17:09, while teammate Meredith Moore just missed the medals, placing 11th with a time of 17:11.
Pipestone Area eighth-grader Michael Suda ran an impressive varsity race, finishing sixth in the boys’ meet with a time of 18:21, one place ahead of Worthington senior Anthony Luft, who clocked a 5K time of 18:24 and brought home the seventh-place medal.
While Jirele, Slater, Suda, Luft and Darling were the top individual area performers, both Worthington and Murray County Central were among the leaders in the boys’ meet and the Trojan girls — led by Darling and Moore — placed sixth in the girls’ team standings.
Backing up Jirele and Luft for WHS in the boys’ race were Amanual Fissiha (17th, 19:09), Troy Feller (31st, 19:59) and Tyler Van Hove (35th, 20:11).
The Trojans were second with 92 points, followed in the top 10 by Redwood Valley (113), MCC (146), Yellow Medicine East (184), Montevideo (186), Pipestone Area (186), Lac qui Parle Valley (210), Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (224) and Springfield-Cedar Mountain (237).
“We had a good all-around performances from our boys,” exclaimed WHS head coach Ken Henkels. “Matt ran a tremendous lead run for us and both Anthony and Amanual finished among the top 20. There were 106 finishers and all 10 of the guys that we ran were in the top 64, getting seven among the first 42.”
Jonah McDonald (38th, 20:16) and eighth-grader Jacob Prunty (42nd, 20:20) completed Worthington’s top seven.
MCC was led by the trio of Clayton Hartle (12th, 18:42), Andy Garza (16th, 19:01) and Jack Erickson (23rd, 19:45).
Matt Lavoy (11th, 18:42) was T-M-B’s top finisher and Taylor Recker (15th, 19:00) was Adrian’s first finisher.
Redwood Valley’s Ryan Phillips won the boys’ varsity race, clocking a sparkling time of 16:59.
The Cardinals made a sweep of the individual gold medals as RV’s Kayla Huhnerkoch earlier won the shorter girls’ race with a time of 15:33, entering the chute 20 seconds before Slater.
Cassie Hook (13th, 17:31) and Livia Wallace (14th, 17:35) were the lead runners for T-M-B and PA, respectively.
LQPV was second in the girls’ team standings, followed in the top 10 by B/KMS (121), RV (151), Montevideo (154), Worthington (162), the combination of Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s, Sleepy Eye Public and New Ulm Cathedral (198), Adrian (200), MCC (200) and T-M-B (200).
Adrian’s Morgan Sauer (16th, 17:39), Windom’s Christianna Green (21st, 18:02), PA’s Angel Martens (22nd, 18:06) and MCC’s Melissa Gehl (28th, 18:19) were other top area girls’ individual finishers.
Helping Worthington earn its sixth-place team finish were eighth-grader Jessica Darling (33rd, 18:32), Olivia Ebbers (50th, 19:42) and Ariana Lopez (59th, 20:32).
Kacey Contreras (67th, 21:25) and Rachel Koller (69th, 21:34) also ran in the varsity race for the Trojans.
“Our girls ran well,” summed up Henkels. “We had great lead runs from both Alicia and Meredith, but each one of them had good races and helped us do well as a team.”
Southwestern United, paced by the individual win of Rachel Salentiny, won the girls’ junior high team title with 38 points, while Worthington won the boys’ junior team high championship as the Trojans’ Nathan Schuck won the race with a 2,000-meter time of 7:21.
Salentiny was clocked at 7:38 and teammate MaKayla Edwards finished third with a time of 7:49 as the Wildcats top five finished 1-3-8-11-15. Andrew Olsen placed sixth (7:48) in the boys’ race as Worthington’s second runner. The Trojans top five finished in places 1-6-12-15-21.
SWU’s Logan Knutson finished third in the boys’ junior varsity race with a 4,000-meter time of 15:56 and PA’s Tyl Woelber was fourth (16:29).
PA runners Morgan Hazelton (19:14), Maria Spanier (19:30) and Claire Ferrite (19:33) paced the Arrow’s to the girls’ junior varsity team title with a 1-2-3 individual sweep of that race.
Many area teams compete at Marshall Monday.