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Adrian girls, Waseca boys triumph at ML/B-O meet

MOUNTAIN LAKE -- Putting all five of its scoring runners among the top 13 finishers, the two-time defending state champion Adrian girls' cross country team impressively won the season-opening Wolverine Invitational Wednesday afternoon.

Running on a beautiful day --dubbed by former meet director Paul Metcalf as the "third best day "weather-wise" in the 35-year history of the event -- the Dragons were in command from start to finish on the challenging 4,000 meter course.

The trio of Morgan Lynn, Leslie Stover and Hailee Heitkamp quickly established the pace, as those three Adrian runners were running one-two-three after the first 1,600 meters.

A pair of Waseca runners and Fairmont's Taylor Rather eventually passed both Stover and Heitkamp, but Lynn -- who is currently ranked fifth in the state among Class girls -- held off all the challengers and claimed the individual gold medal with a sparkling early season time of 15 minutes, 48 seconds.

Stover, who like Lynn is a junior, placed fifth in the 125-finisher field with her time of 15:56

Adrian took the next two places, as seventh-grader Jordin Kopplow also bettered the 16-minute mark (15:59) and Heitkamp, a freshman, clocked a time of 16:20, finishing sixth and seventh, respectively.

Eighth-grader Austyn Thier locked up the team victory for the Dragons, as she placed 13th with a time of 16:55.

Adding those five places together (1-5-6-7-13) gives Adrian a winning score of 32 points -- 29 points ahead of Fairmont and Waseca, who tied for second with 61 points each.

"We did okay for our first meet," said Adrian head coach Doug Petersen in an understatement. "We have such good balance and the addition of Jordin (Kopplow), who won just about every junior high race she ran in last year (as a sixth-grader), is going to be a huge boost this season."

Blue Earth Area finished a distant fourth in the team standing with 148 points, followed by Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin (190), Windom/Southwestern United (201), United South Central/Alden-Conger (269), Jackson County Central (292), Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial/Nicollet (293), Worthington (323), Murray County Central/Fulda (351), Martin County West (373) and incomplete (without five finishers) teams from Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central, Maple River, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton and Southwest Christian.

In addition to the five scoring Adrian runners, other area runners that finished among the 15 medalists were MCC's Laura Christensen, ninth (16:23), Worthington's Kaitlin Gerber, 12th (16:55) and Fulda's Erica Drealan, 14th (16:56).

T-M-B's Tholen races to 2nd

While strong teams from the east --Waseca and United South Central/Alden-Conger -- dominated the team portion of the boys' meet, several area runners came home with individual medals.

Headlining that list was Tracy-Milroy-Balaton junior Ryan Tholen, who utilized a strong finish to claim second place, among 125 finishers, with a 5,000 meter time of 17:03.

Adrian junior Chris Reisdorfer (17:35), JCC sophomore Matt Kocak and Southwest Christian senior Ethan Spronk (17:43) placed fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, while JCC sophomore Marc Strom was 10th (17:49) and SWC junior Grant Vis finished 15th with a time of 18:09.

Waseca's Brandon Kingston won the race (16:52) and Bluejay teammate Jeremy Sass was third (17:14), leading the South Central Conference school to the team title with 63 points.

USC/A-C, based out of Wells, had its top three finishers in places 8, 13 and 14, as the Rebels claimed team-runner-up honors with a score of 73.

Adrian nipped JCC for third place by just three points, 98-101, while BEA was fifth (134) and Fairmont finished sixth (148).

Southwest Christian was seventh with 217 points, followed by Maple River (290), T-M-B (293), W-WG/RRC (293), Worthington (309), ML/B-O (352) and Windom/SWU (437).