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PREP CROSS COUNTRY: GIRLS: Adrian girls win Turkey Trot

Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe Worthington's Kaitlin Gerber (left) and Lydia Kemper (middle) run just ahead of Windom's Merideth Hentges during the Turkey Trot cross country race Thursday at Prairie View Golf Links in Worthington.1 / 3
Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe A group of girls runs at the halfway point during Thursday's Turkey Troy cross country race Thursday at Prairie View Golf Links in Worthington.2 / 3
Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe Adrian's Jordin Kopplow runs en route to a victory in Thursday' cross country race.3 / 3

WORTHINGTON -- For the fourth consecutive time this fall, Adrian freshman Jordin Kopplow breezed to an impressive individual victory in a high school cross country meet, Thursday at Prairie View Golf Links, leading her fellow Dragons to their third straight team championship.

With Kopplow covering the 4,000-meter girls' course in 15 minutes, 58 seconds and teammates Megan Sauer (16:46), Nicole Slater (17:10), Morgan Wieneke (17:23) and Alissa Sauer (17:47) finishing in scoring places 6-10-13-16, Adrian finished with a low score of 46 points to win the Turkey Trot by 15 points over two-time defending champion Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin.

The Wolverines (3-4-14-19-21) were impressive, despite competing without their top runner Petra Nelson, who was sidelined after undergoing gum surgery on Wednesday. Nelson, who placed sixth in last year's Turkey Trot, is expected to back in the ML/B-O line-up at Windom's Eagle Invitational Monday.

Leading the Wolverines Thursday, were the duo of Sierra Harder (16:32) and Karina Fast (16:37), who finished third and fourth, respectively, after Cheyanne Bowers of St. James entered the chute with a second-place time of 16:27).

"Sierra and Katrina each ran smart, tough races," praised ML/B-O head coach Mike Nelson. "We moved seventh-graders Lydia Hildebrandt and Brianna Soutthivong up to the varsity and they each contributed big time to our success."

Following ML/B-O's 61-point total were Windom (95), Jackson County Central (102), Worthington (103), St. James (132), Martin County West (170), Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (206) and Pipestone Area (239). Murray County Central and Southwest Christian were both incomplete.

Kopplow, who was bothered by a heel spur much of last season and hampered by shin splints during the 2009 track campaign, seems to have returned to her stellar performances that she displayed on area cross country courses as a seventh-grader in 2007.

"I felt pretty good during the race," Kopplow said after finding out her time and getting congratulations from her teammates. "It was hot, but the course seemed to run fast. I ran with the St. James girl most of the first loop and then I was able to pull away."

"I think the girls were a bit pre-occupied with the heat before the race," said AHS coach John Olson. "But, we competed well as the run progressed and had good balance among our top five again."

While Kopplow, who admits to "having run only 310 miles this summer," is undefeated this fall, she is not the only Dragon that is impressing Olson, who is in his first season as Adrian's cross country coach.

"Megan Sauer really finished strong, passing three or four people near the finish," praised Olson. "Nicole Slater also moved up during the race and Morgan Wieneke finished closer to Slater than she ever has before. Alissa Sauer gave us a solid fifth runner performance, as our depth helped us win the meet."

Karen Herrig (15th overall, 17:24) was ML/B-O's third runner, while Hildebrandt (20th, 18:04) and Soutthivong (22nd, 18:08) helped the Wolverines challenge the four-time defending state (Class A) champion Dragons.

Kemper, fifth; Gerber, 12th; lead Trojan girls

Worthington freshman Lydia Kemper utilized a blazing finishing kick to catch MCC's Lexy Gleis at the chute, as the duo placed fifth and sixth, respectively with identical times of 16:42.

"That's my fastest time," declared a happy Kemper after the race. "I thought that my legs were starting to burn, but I was able to have a great finish. I just barely passed her (Gleis), but it was a fun race and I am excited about the rest of the season."

Trojan senior Kaitlin Gerber ran with Kemper for much of the race, but an aggravated knee injury slowed her over the final 800 meters.

In obvious pain, Gerber limped across the finish line with a 12th-place time of 17:16.

Other area runners that claimed trophies by finishing among the top 10 were JCC's Leslie Handzus (eighth overall, 16:51), Windom's Meredith Hentges (ninth, 16:53) and JCC's Megan Johnson (10th, 17:02).

T-M-B's Karli Tholen (17:22) was 13th, while JCC's Angela Handzus (16th, 17:39) and PA's Amanda Schoonhoven (23rd, 18:11) each finished among the top 25, as did the Windom trio of Kelcey Olson (18th, 17:53), Emily Grandprey (19th, 17:57) and Emily Turner (25th, 18:24).

Backing up the lead runs of Kemper and Gerber for the Trojans were Stephanie Behrends (27th, 18:40), Deann Naab (28th, 18:41) and Allison Jaycox (35th, 18:53).

"We had several girls that did not finish among our top five that had greatly improved races (Thursday)," declared WHS coach Ken Henkels. "It was a fun day for us, as the meet went off smoothly because all of our workers did a super job, as always."

MCW's Jessica Kluver won the girls' junior high race, running the 1,600-meter course in 6:29.

Elizabeth Thier (6:35) and Nicole Knips (6:37) finished second and third, respectively, leading Adrian to the team title.