PREP BOYS' CROSS COUNTRY: Musa, Luverne win boys’ cross country titles at Loon LakeJACKSON — Worthington ace runner Mubarik Musa convincingly won the boys’ individual title at the KKOJ/KRAQ Subway Invitational high school cross country meet at the Loon Lake Golf Course Thursday afternoon.
By: Les Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
JACKSON — Worthington ace runner Mubarik Musa convincingly won the boys’ individual title at the KKOJ/KRAQ Subway Invitational high school cross country meet at the Loon Lake Golf Course Thursday afternoon.
While Musa was smoothly-running to his impressive first-place finish — covering 5,000 meters in 15 minutes and 50 seconds — the well-balanced Luverne Cardinals continued their early season success, putting five runners among the top 10 and claiming the team title by 23 points.
Luverne’s scoring runners were sophomore Cody Hess (17:24), senior Ryan Oye (17:30), junior Josh Friedrichsen (17:37), senior Nathan Stensland-Bos (17:38) and senior Austin Stroeh (17:38) who finished within 14 seconds of each other in finish places 4-5-8-9-10, giving the Cardinals a winning score of 36 points.
“We did pretty well today,” summed up LHS head coach Pete Janiszeski in an understatement. “We’ve really been working on getting our guys to stick together and keep that pack tighter.”
Luverne’s top five had a 32-second spread Sept. 16, while running on the state-meet course in the 25-team St. Olaf Invitational.
“We did a nice job at St. Olaf,” Janiszeski declared. “But, we ran even better here, getting PR’s (personal records) by every one of our top seven.”
Martin County West (2-3-12-19-23) finished second with 59 points, while Worthington (1-7-17-18-20) was a close third with a score of 63.
Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin (14-15-16-25-35) was fourth in the standings with 105 points, while Jackson County Central (115) edged Blue Earth Area (115) for fifth on the basis of the sixth-runner tiebreaker.
Springfield (203) was seventh, while Martin Luther, Windom and Hills-Beaver Creek were each incomplete.
MCW senior Adam Kleine stayed close to Musa for the entire first mile, as the two frontrunners were clocked at a sizzling 4:52.
“The mile mark may have been a bit short,” exclaimed Worthington head coach Ken Henkels. “But, they were both moving and the weather conditions were just awesome — perfect, 62 degrees, no wind and sunny.”
Musa, however, pulled away steadily during the second mile and then opened the spread wider on the third mile, winning the race by 55 seconds.
“Mubarik looked good running and he didn’t look stressed or tired at the end,” Henkels said. “He’s won all three of his races this fall by large margins, after missing our first three meets with a sore knee.”
Klein (16:45) and junior teammate Walter Fuller (17:19) finished second and third, respectively, before Hess and Oye entered the chute, pacing the LHS victory.
JCC senior Ben Kocak (17:31) finished right on Oye’s heels in sixth-place, while Worthington eighth-grader Amanuel Fissiha continued his outstanding rookie season by placing seventh, clocked at 17:36.
“He’s really getting consistent and running well each time out,” praised Henkels about Fissiha. “His pace is steady and he’s running up with the leaders.”
Right behind Fissiha was the Luverne trio of Friedrichsen, Stensland-Bos and Stroeh, who all crossed the finish line at nearly the same time, clinching the team title for the Cardinals.
After BEA’s Mike Ankeny (17:39) MCW’s Jonah Mayo (17:43) and BEA’s Jake Wagner (17:44) finished 11th, 12th and 13th, respectively, ML/B-O claimed three of the next four spots, as junior Adam Blomgren (17:45), senior Nathan Dukes (17:47) and junior Kyle Blomgren (17:49) paced the Wolverines.
H-BC senior Ryan Weitgenant (17:46) was the lead runner for the Patriots, placing 15th overall.
Worthington’s trio of junior Nathan Landwehr (17:54), freshman Matthew Jirele (18:01) and junior Ian Stewart (18:20) each moved up a place after Weitgenant’s (incomplete team) finish spot was discounted.
“We got all of our first five in the top 20 of the team scoring, so I was happy with that,” summed up Henkels. “Our guys are running well and competing hard. Jirele always goes out strong and both Landwehr and Stewart stayed close, with Nathan having the best finish of the three.”
Ryan Helmoski, Windom’s lead runner, finished five seconds behind Stewart in 22nd place overall, clocked at 18:25.
Gordy Moore (40th, 19:06) and Oliver Wolyniec (53rd, 20:17) were Worthington’s sixth and seventh runners Thursday, as the Trojans had a total of 15 boys complete the 87-finisher varsity race.
Worthington will run in the Rebel Invitational at Slayton Tuesday, as will Luverne and many other area schools.
JCC seventh-grader Matthew Strom won the junior high race by seven seconds, clocking a time of 5:32. Windom eighth-grader Spencer Wolter (5:46) finished fourth.