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Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe Tracy-Milroy-Balaton's Alex Jones (left), Adrian's Kyle Henning (center) and Hills-Beaver Creek/Ellsworth's Halden Van Wyhe run during Tuesday's cross country meet in Adrian.

Reyne leads impressive AHS boys' victory

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sports Worthington, 56187
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

ADRIAN -- Amazingly putting all five of their scoring runners among the top 12 finishers Tuesday afternoon, the Adrian Dragons impressively won the team title of the 31st-annual Adrian Invitational cross country meet at the community's golf course on the south edge of town.

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The Dragons were so dominant in the 15-team, 84-runner varsity field that they won the meet by 93 points -- with an incredible low score of 29 points on team places 1-4-5-7-12.

That victory margin was by far the largest in the meet's history.

"That was incredible," exclaimed a beaming AHS head coach Doug Petersen. "It kind of blew my mind that we could put together a performance like that."

Meanwhile, the point spread between second and seventh in the team standings was just 27 points.

Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, paced by the second-place finish of Ryan Tholen and the eighth-place performance of Alex Jones, edged Montevideo, 122-123, for second.

Halden Van Wyhe's ninth-place individual effort led Hills-Beaver Creek/Ellsworth to a close fourth-place team finish with 126 points.

Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI (140), Marshall (143) and Sioux Falls Washington (149) battled for fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.

Worthington, led by O.J. Ojullu's fine third-place finish, was eighth in the team standings with 203 points, followed by Murray County Central (217), Luverne (236), Springfield/Cedar Mountain (278), Buffalo Lake-Hector/BOLD (294) and Pipestone Area (358).

Southwest Christian and Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central each ran incomplete.

While Adrian's exceptional balance was evident early over the 5,000-meter course -- as five Dragons were among the top 16 by the 1,000-meter mark -- the race for individual honors was closely contested most of the distance.

Tholen, Ojullu and Adrian junior Nate Reyne had pulled away from the pack by the 2,000-meter mark and the trio stretched the distance -- sticking together -- over the next 2,000 meters.

But, as Tholen made his typical late-race surge to pull away, Reyne was able to stay with the talented Panther senior -- and with about 800 meters to go, it was Reyne who took the lead, lengthening the distance with an impressive finish.

"I really felt great today," said Reyne after receiving all kinds of post-race congratulations. "My legs felt strong and I was able to make a move on the back stretch going over the hills.

"This was by far my best race ever."

Reyne's winning time on the soggy course was 16 minutes, 48.6 seconds.

"Having him win the race was big," declared Petersen. "This was a huge break-through for Nate."

Tholen (17:07.7) and Ojullu (17:24.3) finished second and third, respectively.

Then Adrian took three of the next four places, as Dragon junior Jordan Pater -- who had moved up from sixth -- finished a solid fourth (17:30), and AHS senior Chris Reisdorfer (17:39) outkicked Montevideo's Jesse Mijares (17:43) for fifth.

"Jordan has just been 'Mr. Steady' for us," praised Petersen. "Chris stuck with the Montevideo kid and had a strong finish."

Adrian's lop-sided victory was locked in by the performances of fourth-runner Kyle Henning and fifth-man Brett Springman -- both senior veterans.

Henning won a four-runner battle for seventh-place, entering the chute with a time of 17:55.

Springman followed 12 seconds later, securing 12th place with his time of 18:07.

"Kyle found some speed at the end and really had a great finish today," said Petersen. "Brett ran super too, running closer to Henning than he usually does."

Springman, who was pleased with his effort, said that running together is a big part of the plan.

"We try to stay close as long as we can at the beginning," he said. "But as Nate, Chris and Jordan break away, I do my best to follow off of Kyle."

Petersen expressed satisfaction with all five of his top guys, saying:

"All five of them looked good today; I can't say enough about them."

Jones (17:55) and Van Wyhe (17:59) were joined in the top 20 by area runners Tyler Paulsen (H-BC/E), Mitchell Hart (MCC) and Davontae Maine (Luverne) in places 16, 17 and 18 with respective times of 18:21, 18:33 and 18:37.

Southwest Christian's Corey Vis finished 21st (18:45), followed by Adrian's sixth runner, Jase Pater, a freshman, who clocked a time of 18:45 in 22nd place.

Mark Bau (MCC), Dustin Verhey (H-BC/E), Josh Bobb (SWC), Nathan Stensland-Bos (Luverne), Luke Werner (H-BC/E) and Michael Patten (Worthington) were other area runners in the top 35.

Bau was 26th (18:49), while the other five runners finished in places 31-35 with times of 18:59, 19:00, 19:01, 19:05 and 19:08, respectively.

Completing the scoring for Worthington were Kreguto Okello (48th, 19:23), Ian Fleace (51st, 19:42) and Michael Harberts (74th, 21:18).

The Trojans ran without Aaron Grafing, the team's usual second runner, who was sidelined with an illness.

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