Dragon boys dominate; Tholen repeats as championADRIAN — In a competitive race up front, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton senior Ryan Tholen repeated his Section 3A boys’ individual title Friday, while the stacked Adrian Dragons breezed to a dominating performance — putting four runners among the top seven — to easily claim the team championship.
By: Les Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
ADRIAN — In a competitive race up front, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton senior Ryan Tholen repeated his Section 3A boys’ individual title Friday, while the stacked Adrian Dragons breezed to a dominating performance — putting four runners among the top seven — to easily claim the team championship.
Tholen, who just arrived back home at 1 a.m. from the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., pulled away from top contenders Nate Reyne (Adrian) and Nate Thooft (Redwood Valley) over the last 1,600 meters of the 5,000-meter race on the always-challenging Adrian Country Club course.
“I felt fresh,” Tholen said moments after the race. “I tried to get as much sleep as I could on the van ride home, and actually the days off from running probably helped me.”
Tholen left for Indianapolis on Tuesday and had success at the convention, helping his Ag Mechanics team earn sixth-place in the nation, while placing second himself in that event at the national level.
Reyne, who outran Tholen on the same course 17 days earlier, put on a strong finishing kick late in the race but was unable to catch the Panther veteran.
“He had an impressive finish,” said Tholen about Reyne. “I knew that he was coming after me, but I was able to hold him off. The course was a little wet and soggy — my socks are soaked.”
Tholen’s winning time was 16:58.7.
Reyne was timed at 17:01.4, while Thooft — the Southwest Conference champion — finished third with a time of 17:16.7.
The race for fourth was close with 600 meters to go, but Adrian senior veteran Chris Reisdorfer pulled away from Montevideo’s Jesse Mijares, giving AHS two of the top four finishers.
“This was my best race of the season,” said Reisdorfer, who ran a time of 17:28. “It was also my best time on this course. Nate (Reyne) ran another great race. I am proud of him for what he has been able to do.”
Adrian’s “Mr. Consistent” — junior Jordan Pater — finished sixth (17:39.6), and senior teammate Kyle Henning (17:42.7) was three seconds behind in seventh.
“This was my best race ever,” said an elated Henning afterwards. “I knew that I had to run good, or I would regret it tomorrow. I like the cold (weather) and I tried to stick right behind Jordan (Pater), and I was able to stay close all the way.”
The Dragons locked up their fourth consecutive section championship when senior Brett Springman (18:16) finished 18th, giving AHS a winning score of 37 points (2-4-6-7-18).
“Our guys went out hard, running a fast first mile, and they were able to hold the pace,” exclaimed AHS head coach Doug Petersen, who was named the Section 3A boys’ coach of the year. “We ran some amazing times, considering how soggy the ground was from the rains of the last two days.
“Give our boys credit; they are very motivated,” he continued. “We had exceptional races today from both Reisdorfer and Henning, but the other five guys ran great races too.”
Redwood Valley finished a distant second with 81 points, while Montevideo (99) edged T-M-B (108) for third.
Hills-Beaver Creek/Ellsworth (150) was fifth, followed by Murray County Central (171), Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI (174), Worthington (205), Luverne (211), Springfield/Cedar Mountain (258), BOLD (285), Pipestone Area (328) and Yellow Medicine East (392).
Running incomplete were Southwest Christian, Lakeview, Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central and Renville County West.
Van Wyhe, Bau place 8-9, qualify for state meet
In the 97-finisher field, the top 10 individuals qualify for next week’s (Nov. 1) state meet at Northfield.
Area runners Halden Van Wyhe (H-BC/E) and Mark Bau (MCC), finished eighth and ninth, respectively, and will be making the trip. Both athletes are seniors.
Van Wyhe covered the distance in 17:43.5 and ran a steady race, according to his coach Tom Goehle.
“Halden has been consistent all year and he ran another good race today,” Goehle said. “I am so happy for him because he has worked hard and has had such a solid cross country career.”
Bau, who clocked a time of 17:48.6, ran a career-best race, achieving a goal that he believed he could accomplish.
“He has been doing some figuring and comparing runners,” said MCC head coach Dominick Damm. “Ever since his sixth-place finish at the conference meet, Mark has believed that he could finish in the top 10 at the section.
“He went out and ran the smartest race that I have ever seen him run, maintaining a steady pace all the way, moving up and passing people throughout the race — it was a good show by Mark.”
Redwood Valley’s Michael Felt (17:54.6) completed the top 10.
Other area runners who finished among the top 25 included Worthington’s O.J. Ojullu (14th, 18:06), T-M-B’s Alex Jones (16th, 18:13), Luverne’s Davontae Maine (21, 18:19), Adrian’s Zach Runia (22, 18:20), H-BC/E’s Tyler Paulsen (23, 18:22) and Worthington’s Aaron Grafing (25, 18:26).
Ojullu, who led the race in the early stages, seemed to be bothered by the cooler weather and did not run his usual race.
“O.J. has had a terrific season,” said WHS head coach Mike Traphagen. “He just wasn’t able to get it done today.”
Finishing third through seventh for the Trojans were Michael Patten (49, 19:21), Ian Fleace (52, 19:28), Michael Harberts (65, 20:34), Kreguto Okello (67, 20:47) and Gordy Moore (82, 22:20).
Both Adrian and Redwood Valley will bring full seven-man teams to the state meet at St. Olaf College.