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Adrian girls finish first in 37-team meet

MILACA -- Adrian High School is the two-time defending state champion in Class A girls' cross country.

Saturday, the Dragon girls gave strong indication that a three-peat in early November is a strong possibility, as Adrian impressively repeated as team champions of the huge Milaca Mega-Meet, run this year at the Milaca Golf Course.

In a field of 56 participating teams and 264 finishing runners, Adrian put all seven of its runners among the top 98. Each of the five Dragon scoring runners finished among the first 39 finishers in the field of 227 runners from the 37 complete teams.

Adrian's boys, who placed eighth at the Class A state meet two years ago and improved to third-place last fall, also ran well Saturday -- finishing fifth among 58 total teams, 36 of which registered complete team scores.

"It was a good day for Adrian cross country," said AHS head coach Doug Petersen. "Both the girls and boys ran great team races, competing in a very high-level meet."

Petersen pointed out that eight of the state's top 12 ranked Class A girls' teams were competing, as were 10 of the top 12 boys' teams, making the meet much more challenging than it was in 2006.

"Considering the overall caliber of competition, this was one of our best performances," declared Petersen. "Both our teams are heading in the right direction."

Kopplow, Lynn, Stover lead girls

Paced by the trio of seventh-grader Jordin Kopplow and junior veterans Morgan Lynn and Leslie Stover, along with fine performances from eighth-grader Austyn Thier and freshman Natasha Slater, the Dragons tallied a low score of 93 points on team places 8-11-12-23-39.

Kopplow finished ninth overall -- eighth in the team scoring -- with a 4,000 meter time of 15 minutes, 26.5 seconds. Lynn and Stover were close behind with respective times of 15:33 and 15:34, while Thier ran the course in 16:08, finishing 25th overall and 23rd among all runners from complete teams.

Slater, who broke 17 minutes for the first time in a meet at Fairmont (Sept. 17), shattered her own personal record by 22 seconds and helped clinch the Adrian victory with her 39th place team finish (42nd overall), as she covered the distance in 16:35.

"Natasha has really stepped it up the last two meets," praised Petersen. "That's helping us become better."

Hailee Heitkamp, who has often been Adrian's fourth runner, missed the meet as she was attending a wedding. So Slater's performance helped the Dragons fill that void.

Perham had two runners finish among the top five, but Slater (Adrian's fifth runner) finished nine places ahead of the Yellowjackets' third runner, giving Adrian the big win. Perham's second-place score was 161 (3-5-48-51-54), while Fairmont finished a close third with 166 points.

Completing the top 10 in the team competition were Holy Family Catholic (228), Mankato Loyola (232), St. Cloud Cathedral (238), Mora (249), Paynesville (257), Providence Academy (298) and Lake City (340).

Redwood Valley, paced by the 14th place overall finish of freshman Gabi Swoboda (15:37), was 11th with 340 points, while St. James, led by the 18th place overall finish of sophomore Anna Menssen (15:53) was 19th with a score of 485.

As an indicator of how big this meet was, the 36th and 37th place teams -- Mayer Lutheran and Wrenshall -- tallied 1,018 and 1,038 points, respectively.

Adrian's sixth and seventh runners -- freshman Alissa Sauer (91st, 17:33) and junior Erica Thier (98th, 17:41) -- both made the top 100 overall, beating scoring runners from nearly every team. 

Reisdorfer Runs great race for Dragon boys

Adrian junior Chris Reisdorfer ran a fantastic race Saturday, finishing 10th overall -- among 285 finishers -- in the 5,000 meter boys' race.

"We did not expect a top 10 individual finish from Chris," noted Petersen. "He ran very, very well -- that's an impressive performance."

Reisdorfer, who clocked a time of 16:52, turned in the second fastest time ever run by an Adrian boy in the meet -- bettered only by Ethan Wieneke's time of 16:25 when he finished second as a senior in 2006

Sophomore Jordan Pater was Adrian's next finisher (37th overall, 30th teamwise) with a time of 17:29, while senior Jack Albertson (49th, 41st, 17:42), junior Kyle Henning (76th, 67th, 18:08) and junior Brett Springman (85th, 79th, 18:14) completed the Adrian scoring. The Dragons scored 224 points (10-30-41-67-76), finishing ahead of 31 of the 36 complete teams.

Perham won the team title with a score of 96. Warroad was a distant second with 191 points, followed in the top 10 by Holy Family Catholic (195), Long Prairie/Grey Eagle (204), Adrian (224), Bryon (247), Pine City (250), St. James (278), Minnehaha Academy (297) and St. Cloud Cathedral (329). Pelican Rapids was 36th with 998 points.

Finishing sixth and seventh for Adrian were senior Jarod Boltjes (88th, 79th, 18:15) and sophomore Zach Runia (98th, 89th, 18:23).

"Our order keeps changing from meet to meet," said Petersen. "That's a good thing, because it indicates the kind of balance and depth that we continue to develop."

The boys ran without sophomore Nate Reyne, who was ill. Reyne has been Adrian's first or second runner in several of the team's earlier meets.

Sauer-Slater go 1-2 in girls' 7th grade race

As if the impressive performances by the Adrian varsity runners was not enough, several Dragons also turned in sparkling performances in the grade level races.

Highlighting those efforts was the one-two finish of seventh grader Megan Sauer (12:22) and sixth-grader Nicole Slater (12:38) in the 3,200 meter seventh grade girls' race.

Elissa Thier (14:18) finished 24th in the same race, which had 170 finishers from all three classes A, AA and AAA.

Adrian sixth-grader Nick Reyne was 21st (among 174) in the similar seventh grade boys' race, covering the distance in 12:34.

In the boys' 10th grade race, Dragon runners Brian Hokeness (118th) and Justin Feit (124th) finished in the middle of a pack of 234 runners with respective 5,000 meter times of 20:44 and 20:48.