Dragons play rude host, sweep team titles
ADRIAN -- In a meet that was a near preview of the upcoming Section 3A cross country race, the host Adrian Dragons won both team titles Tuesday at the annual running of the Adrian Invitational.
The Dragon girls, paced by the spectacular individual performance of junior veteran Morgan Lynn, topped the 15-team field by 64 points. Adrian's top five finished in team places 1-4-9-13-17, giving the Dragons a low score of 44 points.
"We had a fantastic lead run from Morgan and both our seventh-graders ran solid races," AHS head coach Doug Petersen said. "We ran without one of our best runners (Leslie Stover, illness), but our team depth and balance was evident again today."
After Adrian's girls won the first varsity event, the Dragon boys completed the sweep -- putting all five of their scoring runners among the top 15 -- finishing with an exceptional score of 37 (3-4-5-10-15). That total was 31 points better than runner-up Sioux Falls Washington (68) and 58 points ahead of third-place Marshall (95).
"Our boys really had a nice team win and were impressive," praised Petersen. "We did not expect to win by that many points."
Leading the balanced Adrian boys' effort was junior Chris Reisdorfer, who after holding the lead much of the race, finished third with a time of 17:23 over the challenging 5,000 meter course.
"We have a good team," said Reisdorfer, who pushed the pace and showed a lot of heart by running at the front. "I was just doing what I could to lead my teammates and I ended up running my best time on this course."
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton junior Ryan Tholen passed Reisdorfer with about 1,200 meters to go and pulled away to his fifth meet victory of the season, clocking a time of 16:55.
Tholen worked his way from about 15th place after the first mile, all the way to the front -- winning the race by 24 seconds.
Marshall's Brian Byrnes (17:19) caught Reisdorfer on the last hill and finished second.
"I like to run an even race," explained Tholen. "My first mile was a 5:25 and then I ran two 5:27's and was able to move up and pass people. I try to focus on the runner ahead and as I catch them -- that gives me a boost of confidence that helps go after the next guy."
Adrian sophomores Nate Reyne (17:38) and Jordan Pater (17:46) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, giving the Dragons three straight finishers.
Other area runners to finish among the top 20 included, Southwest Christian's Ethan Spronk (seventh, 17:55), Hills-Beaver Creek/Ellsworth's Halden Van Wyhe (ninth, 18:00), Adrian's Jack Albertson (10, 18:08), Adrian's Kyle Henning (15, 18:13), SWC's Grant Vis (16, 18:17), H-BC/E's Tyler Paulsen (17, 18:18), Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central's Forrest Asp (18, 18:19) and H-BC/E's Dustin Verhey (19, 18:20).
Montevideo was fourth in the team standings with 129 points, followed by H-BC/E (151), SWC (186), Canby/Minneota (209), W-WG/RRC (225), Murray County Central/Fulda (233),T-M-B (248), Worthington (267), Luverne (294), Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin (325) and BOLD (328). Pipestone Area was incomplete.
Worthington was paced by sophomore Aaron Grafing, who placed 33rd with a time of 18:50. Alex Stewart (57, 20:00), Tim Zaske (60, 20:11), Okuich Abella (62. 20:14), Caleb Fellows (64, 20:19), Ian Fleace (75, 20:56) and Alex Myrom (76, 21:01) completed the Trojan varsity.
Top nine girls break 16:00
Lynn, who was not raced since the Milaca Mega-Meet (Sept. 23), competed in style Tuesday, as she quickly caught Marshall senior Brooke Wyffels and stuck with her like glue.
"Brooke is such a good runner," said Lynn, who missed more than two weeks with mononucleosis. "I didn't expect to stay with her. But I really felt good today, and I took the lead a little over half way through.'
Once Lynn took the lead, she gradually stretched the distance -- opening up about a 70-meter lead by the finish.
Lynn's winning time was 15:09, while Wyffels was clocked at 15:18.
The next seven finishers also bettered the 16-minute mark, as Luverne senior Lexi Jo Heitkamp (15:23) and Adrian seventh-grader Jordin Kopplow (15:26) finished third and fourth, respectively.
MCC/F junior Laura Christensen (15:43) won the race for fifth, followed closely by Marshall junior Emily Van Keulen (15:45), PA junior Ann Marie Dykstra (15:49), Worthington sophomore Kaitlyn Gerber (15:56) and Sioux Falls Washington freshman Sami Smith (15:59) in places 6-9, respectively.
Adrian seventh-grader Megan Sauer completed the top 10, clocking a time of 16:03 as the Dragons' third finisher.
Other area runners in the top 20 included PA sophomore Amanda Schoonhoven (11, 16:13), ML/B-O sophomore Petra Nelson (12, 16:15), Adrian eighth-grader Austyn Thier (15, 16:20), T-M-B eighth-grader Karli Tholen (18, 16:25) and Adrian freshman Hailee Heitkamp (19, 16:27).
Luverne and Marshall tied for second in the team standings with 108 points, with the Cardinals winning the sixth-runner tie-breaker.
ML/B-O edged C/M/LH/LB for fourth, 127-129, while Montevideo (141), Sioux Falls Washington (153), MCC/F (166), Worthington (208), T-M-B (261) and BOLD (298) completed the list of 11 full teams. H-BC/E, PA, SWC and W-WG/RRC were incomplete.
Stephanie Behrens was Worthington's second runner, finishing 35th with a time of 17:09, followed by Allison Jaycox (62, 18:23), Mackenzie Gerber (63, 18:28), Stephanie Jaycox (64, 18:29), Deann Naab (68, 18:45) and Angela Lowe (79, 20:55).