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Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Runners jostle to establish position at the start of the boys' Section 3A cross country meet Friday in Adrian.

PREP CROSS COUNTRY BOYS: Cardinal boys return to state

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ADRIAN -- Despite graduating a trio of its top runners from last season, Luverne High School is returning its boys' cross country team to the state meet.

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The Cardinals -- paced by the stellar top-10 individual finishes of junior Cody Hess, senior Josh Friedrichsen and sophomore Drew Weis, along with strong supporting scoring places by seniors Nic Buss and Scott Nelson -- tallied 66 points Friday afternoon at the windy and cold Adrian Country Club and secured a second-place finish among 18 participating teams in the high-caliber Section 3A meet.

Redwood Valley impressively won its third consecutive section team championship with a low score of 44 on places 2-3-5-16-18 and Canby's Nick Stoks convincingly repeated as the meet's individual champion as he took the lead early and pulled away from the huge field of 103 finishers with a time of 16 minutes and 34 seconds over the challenging 5,000-meter (3.1 miles) course.

RV runners Alex Amunrud (16:53) and Ryan Phillips (16:59) finished second and third, respectively, to lead those Cardinals.

Hess finished an impressive fourth, clocked at 17:24, while Friedrichsen --who had placed 11th at the section meet each of the last two years (just missing an individual qualification) --entered the chute seventh this year (17:33), assuring himself of a state-meet advancement.

Weis gave LHS a trio in the top 10 when he crossed 10th with a fine time of 17:43.

"Cody had a very good race up front," praised LHS head coach Pete Janiszeski of the performance by Hess. "He was focused and sure put together a great run. Cody's been known to step it up before when things really count."

Buss (19th, 18:16) and Nelson (26th, 18:31) locked up second place for Luverne (4-7-10-19-26), as the Cardinals edged Montevideo (6-11-12-17-28) by a mere eight points.

The Thunderhawks were third with their 74 points, followed by Canby (98), which also put two runners among the top 15, but scored 68 points between its fourth and fifth runners.

Mountain Lake Area, paced by individual state-qualifier Kyle Blomgren (13th, 17:56) finished a distant fifth with 223 points, followed by Murray County Central/Fulda (231), Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd (237), Pipestone Area (250), Springfield/Cedar Mountain (266), Yellow Medicine East (266), Windom (266), Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (270), MACCRAY/Renville County West (278), BOLD (312) and Jackson County Central (323).

Adrian, Hills-Beaver Creek and Lakeview ran incomplete.

Weis passes two Montevideo runners with final kick

Weis passed a pair of Montevideo runners with his finishing kick during the final stretch run, helping tip the tables in Luverne's favor.

"It was close between us and Montevideo," exclaimed Janiszeski. "Drew knew what he had to to do and had the energy and effort to finish strong, really helping our team score.

"Our guys all did a nice job, across the board our boys ran good races and we accomplished what we wanted to -- which was to get the full team back to the state meet.

Ethan Marshall (35, 18:52) and Eric Wohnoutka (66, 20:30) were Luverne's sixth and seventh runners Thursday.

Lavoy, Blomgren earn individual qualifications

T-M-B junior Matt Lavoy ran a strong individual race for the Panthers and qualified to run in next week's state meet with a ninth-place finish, clocked at 17:41.

Blomgren, the Red Rock Conference champion, put the capper on a stellar career for the Wolverines, as the senior benefitted from the new rule change this year --allowing the first eight finishers (not on one of the top two teams) to advance.

The Class A boys' state meet will be run at 10 a.m. on Nov. 3 at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

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