PREP GIRLS' CROSS COUNTRY: LHS seventh-grader Schandelmeier wins her first varsity raceSLAYTON — Having experienced much success as a Hershey’s youth track and field competitor, Luverne seventh-grader Madison Schandelmeier has taken her running talents to the Luverne High School girls’ cross country team.
By: Les Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
SLAYTON — Having experienced much success as a Hershey’s youth track and field competitor, Luverne seventh-grader Madison Schandelmeier has taken her running talents to the Luverne High School girls’ cross country team.
Running in just her second varsity race Tuesday, Schandelmeier was impressive, claiming the individual title of the Murray County Central Rebel Invitational, winning by 10 seconds with a 4,000-meter time of 16 minutes and five seconds.
Finishing second was veteran Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI sophomore Leah Jessen — one of the premier runners in Section 3A.
Jessen, who stuck close to Schandelmeier, stumbled late in the race and clocked a time of 16:15.
“She was our lead runner in her first varsity race (at St. Olaf in Northfield Sept. 16), finishing 16th overall in a very talented field of runners in a 25-team meet,” Luverne head coach Pete Janiszeski said of Schandelmeier’s quick success. “She won a 4,000-meter junior varsity race in Sioux Falls earlier this season and has won all of her junior high races. The only time she hasn’t finished first was at St. Olaf.”
Still, Schandelmeier’s victory Tuesday was a bit of surprise.
“Considering the competition here and the toughness of this course, Maddie really ran a great race,” Janiszeski said. “She combines good turnover speed with excellent stamina, as she has the ability to just keep pressing and pressing.”
Covering a two-and-a-half mile course, which takes an early trip up a very steep hill and later features two trips up a very grueling, long slope, Schandelmeier worked her way to the front and stayed there — pulling away from Jessen with a splendid sprint finish.
“It may have been different at the end if Jessen hadn’t tripped and lost a few seconds, but Maddie was finishing well and would have been hard to catch,” concluded Janiszeski.
While Schandelmeier and Jessen were dueling for the individual title, the team chase was even closer.
In the end, it was C/M/LH nipping Martin County West on the sixth-runner tiebreaker.
Both the Lancers (2-9-10-13-17) and the Mavericks (5-6-7-12-21) tied for first-place honors with 51 points.
But C/M/LH’s sixth runner entered the chute 17th (among runners from complete teams), while MCW’s sixth finisher was 21st, giving the Lancers the team championship.
Host MCC/Fulda edged Luverne, 74-76, for third, while Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (127), Worthington (146) and Southwest Christian (179) also had complete scores.
Running incomplete were Pipestone Area and Hills-Beaver Creek/ Ellsworth/Edgerton.
Pacing the Rebels was senior Tiffany Gehl, who is running her first season of cross country, with a third-place finish, clocked at 16:31.
“Another remarkable race by Tiffany,” summed up Rebels’ head coach Dominick Damm. “She has run lots of great races this fall and this may have been her best.”
Luverne sophomore Makaya Hohn (16:40) helped Luverne’s team score with a solid fourth-place finish Tuesday, followed by a trio of MCW runners (Morgan Larson, 16:48), Whitney Smith (17:14) and Noel Bjerken (17:25).
MCC/F freshman Sariah Cheadle claimed the eighth individual award (Rebel Invite T-shirts for the top 10) with her time of 17:34.
Ashley Grengs (17:35) and Erin Kamrath (17:36), both from C/M/LH, completed the top-10 varsity finishers.
Just missing a top-10 award was H-BC/E/E senior Sierra Wilgenburg, placing 11th with a time of 17:53.
T-M-B junior Nichole Iverson (12th, 17:56), H-BC/E/E freshman Jenna Wilgenburg (14, 18:00), MCC/F sophomore Melissa Gehl (15, 18:01), Worthington freshman Meredith Moore (17, 18:03), Worthington eighth-grader Alicia Darling (18, 18:04) and T-M-B eighth-grader Elodie Tholen (20, 18:12) were the other area girls who finished among the top 20.
Worthington head coach Ken Henkels was pleased that both Moore and Darling finished in the top 20 against such good competition.
“Both Meredith and Alicia went out a little faster than usual and really attacked,” praised Henkels. “They were running about 11th and 12th earlier in the race and were caught by some good runners, but they each still had enough to finish strong. I was very proud of how well both of them competed.”
The Trojans were missing three top runners — Stephanie Jaycox, Kari Suby and Kinzie Myrom — due to illness or injury.
Finishing third for Worthington Tuesday was senior Jennifer Majerus (39th overall, 36 team) with a time of 20:42, while sophomores Ariana Lopez (43, 39, 21:40) and Sade Potter (44, 40, 22:05) completed the scoring for the Trojans.
In the girls’ junior varsity race, Tyree Murray (26, 23:36), Mariah Haffield (28, 24:16) and Hope Reeves (31, 25:39) finished the same course as the varsity girls ran.
Pankonen, Nerem go 1-2; Armstrong, Marten get top-10 JH finishes
MCC/F seventh-grader Averi Pankonen — who has been an outstanding Hershey’s track sprinter — proved that she can run long distances, too, as she won the 1,600-meter junior high race by 34 seconds, clocked at 5:48.
Southwest Christian’s Emily Nerem (6:22) was second and teammate Kailyn Jasper (6:43) placed fifth.
T-M-B’s Kristin Vogl (fourth, 6:42) and PA’s Livia Wallace (seventh, 6:49) also made the top 10, as did Worthington seventh-grader Kattiana Armstrong (sixth, 6:46) and Trojan eighth-grader Lauren Marten (10th, 7:05).
Seventh-graders Mary Abella (13, 7:33) and Alyssa Williams (15, 7:53) also ran well for Worthington, which competes again Oct. 6 at Luverne.