PREP BOYS' CROSS COUNTRY: Cody Hess paces LHS victorySLAYTON — Paced by the outstanding lead run of sophomore Cody Hess, the well-balanced Luverne Cardinals nipped Worthington by three points, 43-46, Tuesday afternoon for the varsity boys’ team championship of the Murray County Central Rebel Invitational high school cross country meet at the always-challenging Slayton Golf Course.
By: Les Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
SLAYTON — Paced by the outstanding lead run of sophomore Cody Hess, the well-balanced Luverne Cardinals nipped Worthington by three points, 43-46, Tuesday afternoon for the varsity boys’ team championship of the Murray County Central Rebel Invitational high school cross country meet at the always-challenging Slayton Golf Course.
Hess clocked a 5,000-meter time of 18 minutes and nine seconds, finishing third individually — ahead of everyone except Worthington’s Mubarik Musa and Nick Stoks from Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI, who are both among the state’s best cross country runners.
“Cody certainly ran a great race to lead us today,” praised Luverne head coach Pete Janiszeski. “He had an exceptional effort and getting third in this field of runners is quite an accomplishment.”
Hess ran a steady race — over the numerous hills — and was able to pull away from Martin County West senior Adam Kleine (fourth, 18:21) by 12 seconds and lead the Cardinals to their second team title in six days.
Luverne won the Jackson County Central Invitational Sept. 22 by placing all five of its scoring runners among the top-10 finishers.
While the Cardinals were not quite able to duplicate that balanced of a performance Tuesday, LHS was able to claim the title in a very tight three-way chase at the top.
Musa clocked a winning time of 16:46, finishing first for the fourth time — in as many races — this fall, to lead Worthington to its second-place team finish.
Stoks was a solid second, timed at 16:55.
Meanwhile, Kleine paced a strong Martin County West squad, which had won Worthington’s Turkey Trot Invitational by four points (53-57) over the Trojans back on Sept. 15 and edged WHS (59-63) for second at JCC’s meet
The Mavericks (3-6-9-16-17) finished third Tuesday with a score of 52.
“After getting close to MCW in two meets, it was nice to be able to finish ahead of them this time,” summed up Worthington head coach Ken Henkels. “We really had a good all-around team race by our guys, getting all five scoring runners in the top-15 finishers among the complete teams.”
Luverne, however, was able to nudge the Trojans with even better balance as LHS runners Ryan Oye (18:38), Josh Friedrichsen (18:44), Nathan Stensland-Bos (19:13) and Austin Stroeh (19:15) finished in team places 7-8-12-13, which along with a No. 3 card from Hess, gave the Cardinals a low score of 43.
“Our pack wasn’t quite as tight today as it was last week (at JCC’s meet at the Loon Lake Golf Course), but that was more a matter of Hess really breaking away and running up near the front,” exclaimed Janiszeski. “We still packed together pretty well and our sixth and seventh runners were closer to our fourth and fifth, which was nice to see.”
Luverne’s sixth and seventh runners were freshman Drew Weis (22nd overall, 20th team, 19:47) and junior Scott Nelson (23, 21, 19:50), giving the Cardinals seven runners in the top 23 of the 44-finisher varsity race.
“We’re pretty happy about how we did teamwise to win another meet,” concluded Janiszeski. “Ryan and Josh both were in the top eight and Nathan and Austin each finished between Worthington’s third and fourth runners, which made the difference and gave us the win.”
Worthington (1-5-11-14-15) was very close to its first team title of the campaign, as eighth-grader Amanuel Fissiha ran another fine race, claiming fifth with a time of 18:29.
“He finished ahead of some guys that he hasn’t beat before,” declared Henkels about Fissiha’s performance. “He’s getting more and more consistent and once he gets ahead of a runner, he’s keeping them behind him.”
Locking in the Trojans’ strong team showing was the trio of freshman Matthew Jirele (18:59), junior Nathan Landwehr (19:23) and junior Ian Stewart (19:26) in team places 11, 14 and 15, respectively.
“All three came through again,” exclaimed Henkels. “Matthew’s like a ‘bull,’ he always runs tough and sets a good pace, which Ian and Nathan follow well.”
Completing the varsity for the Trojans Tuesday were junior Gordy Moore (29, 25, 20:13) and freshman Oliver Wolyniec (40, 33, 21:48).
Hills-Beaver Creek/ Ellsworth/Edgerton senior Ryan Weitgenant ran a stellar individual race, placing 10th overall — claiming the last of the top-10 finisher T-shirt awards — with a time of 18:51.
While the Patriots, Pipestone Area and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton were incomplete in the team standings, C/M/LH (77) and MCC/Fulda (135) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
PA sophomore Andrew Berg (16th overall, 19:25) led the Arrows, while Alex Solheim (21, 19, 19:40) was the first runner in the chute for MCC/F.
T-M-B’s lead varsity runner was junior Shane Parker (20:41), who finished 32nd overall.
PA’s Aberahamson wins JV race, Clark, Jenson claim top-10 finishes
PA sophomore Alex Aberahamson won the 4,000-meter junior varsity race with a time of 16:15, while Luverne runners Ethan Marshall and Joey Vajgrt ran identical times of 16:42, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
Worthington freshman Zach Clark claimed a top-10 award by finishing ninth with a time of 16:49, followed by H-BC/E/E freshman Cole Meester (16:52) in 10th.
Completing the line-up for the Trojans were Thomas Burns (18, 17:54), Sam Talsma (22, 18:25), Desalegn Zemenfes (23, 18:27), Troy Feller (25, 18:45), Caleb Wede (27, 18:52), Levi Blanchard (30, 20:12), Peter Scholtes (37, 21:13) and Jonah McDonald (39, 21:18).
MCW seventh-grader Joshua Bjerken won the 1,600-meter junior high race, while PA (four) and Luverne (three) combined for seven of the top-10 places.
Lacus Griebel (5:33), Emerson Winter (5:42), Josh Homann (5:49) and David Berger (5:59) finished 2-4-8-9 for the Arrows, while Griffin Ahrendt (5:39), Erik Wohnoutka (5:45) and Alex Kramer (6:01) placed 3-6-10 for the Cardinals.
Worthington was paced by Cameron Jenson’s seventh-place time of 5:46, while Simon Gebrehiwot (11, 6:11), Alex Baustian (15, 6:29), Nathoe Vorasane (18, 6:33) and Sam Burns (25, 8:47) also completed the course for the young Trojans.
Both Worthington and Luverne run next at the Cardinal Invitational in Luverne Oct. 6.