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Christensen leads MCC girls, Tholen wins boys' race

SLAYTON -- Paced by the first-place finish of junior Laura Christensen, the host Murray County Central/Fulda girls breezed to an easy victory Tuesday in the seven-team MCC Rebel Invitational Cross Country Meet at the Slayton Country Club.

Christensen, the state's eighth-ranked Class A runner, pulled away from the 32-runner varsity field, winning with a time of 16:06 over the 4,000 meter course, which features several challenging hills.

Rebel teammates Lexy Gleis (17:13), Erica Drealan (17:22), Cassie Gleis (18:12) and Laura York (18:34) finished in places six, seven, 10 and 14, respectively, as MCC/F won the meet by 29 points.

Later, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton's Ryan Tholen claimed a 50-second victory in the longer boys' 5,000 meter run, but Martin County West put five runners among the top 10 and won the team trophy by 37 points.

Tholen covered the distance in 17:12, while MCW's Caleb Krusemark (18:02) and Halden Van Wyhe (18:10) of Hills-Beaver Creek/Ellsworth/Edgerton finished second and third, respectively.

Forrest Asp of Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central was fourth with a time of 18:33 and HBC/E/E's Dustin Verhey (18:38) finished fifth.

Worthington's Aaron Grafing (8th, 19:03), MCC's Mark Bau (11th, 19:34), Pipestone Area's Kasey Klosterman (12th, 19:37), MCC's Joey Erickson (13th, 19:45), MCC's Mitchell Hart (14th, 19:53) and W-WG/RRC's Rich Rohlik (15th, 20:04) were the other area runners that finished in the top 15 of the 38-runner field.

MCW tallied a winning score of 30 points, followed by HBC/E/E (67), MCC (78), Worthington (94), T-M-B (96) and PA (129). WWG/RRC was incomplete.

MCC/F's girls had a low score of 28, followed by MCW (57), Worthington (59) and T-M-B (71). PA, H-BC/E/E and W-WG/RRC were each incomplete.

Individually, Anne Marie Dykstra and Amanda Schoonhoven, both of PA, finished second and fourth with respective times of 16:16 and 16:45, while T-M-B's Karli Tholen was fifth, clocked at 16:55.

W-WG/RRC's Carmen Spichiger (11th, 18:30) and H-BC/E/E's Rayna Sandoval (12th, 18:31) also finished among the top 15.

Gerber, Behrens,Jaycox pace Trojan girls

Three Worthington runners finished among the first 15 girls, as Kaitlin Gerber (third, 16:30), Stephanie Behrens (ninth, 17:51) and Allison Jaycox (15th, 18:38) led the Trojans to a strong third-place team performance -- just missing second by two points.

"I was happy with how we ran today," Trojan head coach Mike Traphagen said. "The big hill makes times a little slower, but the weather conditions were perfect. This was a good meet for us."

Backing up the performances of the top three were the trio of Deann Naab (21st, 19:29), Angela Lowe (30th, 21:48) and Yunuen Velasquez (31st, 22:25).

After Grafing's eighth-place run, the rest of the Trojan boys finished close to each other, as Alex Stewart (20th, 20:23), Tim Zaske (24th, 20:42), Okuich Abella (25th, 20:51), Ian Fleace (26th, 20:56), Alex Myrom (31st, 21:36) and Travis Pedersen (34th, 21:53) completed the WHS varsity.

Worthington runs at the H-BC/E/E Invitational Monday in Larchwood, Iowa.