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Dykstra, Tholen lead pack at Tracy Invitational

TRACY -- Pipestone Area's Anne Marie Dykstra and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton's Ryan Tholen raced to individual titles at the 11-team Panther Invitational Cross Country Meet Thursday afternoon.

While the combination of Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI claimed both team championships, several area runners finished among the top 10 in each of the varsity races -- highlighted by the sparkling performances of Dykstra and Tholen.

Dykstra covered the 4,000 meter course at the Tracy Country Club in a time of 16 minutes, 22 seconds, leading three other runners under the 17:00 mark.

Windom/Southwestern United's Chelsea Garrison -- who held the lead after the first mile -- finished second and clocked a time of 16:37, as she paced the Eagles to a second-place team performance.

Dykstra's teammate Amanda Schoonhoven (16:53) was fourth, while T-M-B's Karli Tholen (17:09) and Worthington's Kaitlin Gerber (17:20) finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

C-M-LH placed four runners among the top 10 (3, 8, 9, 10), as the Lancers won the team title with a low score of 42 points.

Windom/SWU was second with 75 points, followed by Worthington (115), Yellow Medicine East (134), T-M-B (152), Springfield/Cedar Mountain/Comfrey (163) and Lakeview (209). There were four incomplete girls' teams.

Ryan Tholen breezed to an impressive victory in the 5,000 meter boys' race, winning the event by 56 seconds with a sparkling time of 17:23.

MACCRAY's Taylor Boldin ran the course in 18:19, finishing second by 39 seconds.

Forest Asp of Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central also broke 19 minutes, as he placed third with a time of 18:58.

Worthington sophomore Aaron Grafing -- running in just his second cross country meet -- turned in a fine performance, earning the fourth place medal with his time of 19:14.

"Aaron ran well," praised Worthington head coach Mike Traphagen. "We are excited about the rapid progress that he is making."

Area runners Kasey Klosterman (PA), Jon LeBoutillier (W-WG/RRC) and Alex Jones (T-M-B) finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, with times of 19:19, 19:29 and 19:30.

C-M-L won the team title with 63 points, followed by T-M-B (84), W-WG/RRC (90), Worthington (115), PA (160) and S/CM/C (161). Five others were incomplete in the boys' meet.

Alex Stewart was Worthington's second runner, finishing 20th with a time of 20:27, followed by Caleb Fellows (24th, 21:07), Alex Myrom (33rd, 22:05), Ian Fleace (34th, 22:19) and Travis Pedersen (38th, 23:24). Trojans Okuich Abella and Tim Vaske were kept out of the line-up with recent injuries.

Backing up Gerber's fine performance in the girls' race were Trojan runners Stephanie Behrens (15th, 18:07), Allison Jaycox (17th, 18:35), Deann Naab (32nd, 20:11) and Angela Lowe (45th, 21:32).

Montgomery Invitational

MONTGOMERY -- With a total of 37 teams and approximately 230 finishers in each varsity race, both Jackson County Central and Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin participated in the huge Redbird Invitational.

Leading MLBO to a ninth-place team finish in the girls' meet were the trio of Karina Fast (27th, 17:18), Petra Nelson (34th, 17:32) and Nadya Bucklin (81st, 18:16).

The Wolverine boys were 24th in the team standings and were paced by the places of Brandon Fast (53rd, 19:03) and Kyle Fast (85th, 19:40).

JCC's Matt Kocak and Marc Strom both finished among the top 30 boys, but exact places and times were not available at press time.