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Cross country: Fissiha leads at Turkey Trot

Les Knutson

Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — An exceptionally well-balanced Martin County West squad had six runners finish among the top 17 — in a field of 118 — Thursday at the 46th annual Turkey Trot high school cross country meet at the Prairie View Golf Links.

That performance by the Mavericks gave them their third boys’ team title in the past four years as the top five MCW runners combined for a low score of 37 points on team places 2-5-7-10-13.

“We had a great day,” summed up veteran MCW head coach Stannetta Svoboda. “It was our first 5K race of the season and all the boys ran very well, giving us a nice team performance. We’re really happy with how things went.”

Defending team champion Worthington, paced by the individual first-place finish of sophomore Amanual Fissiha, was a solid second with 50 points (1-3-8-17-21), while a very young Pipestone Area squad edged Fairmont, 113-116, for fourth in the team standings.

Murray County Central (121) was a close fifth, followed by Saint James (152), Jackson County Central (183), Windom (204), Mountain Lake Area (233), Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (236) and Southwestern United (318). Adrian and Southwest Christian/Edgerton were each incomplete.

Fissiha, who finished second in last year’s Turkey Trot and had a banner freshman season, ran his best race of 2013 Thursday, clocking a winning time of 17:12.6 over the 5,000-meter course.

“My legs felt really good,” exclaimed Fissiha, who — after pulling away late in the race — had to hold off a strong challenge from MCW’s Jonah Mayo in the final kick. “I like the course, I love this weather (cooler than the recent heat wave). Just everything was clicking for me today.”

Mayo finished a close second (17:12.9), followed in the top-10 by Worthington junior Matt Jirele (17:32.6), PA eighth-grader Michael Suda (17:50.9), MCW junior Matthew Vies Selman (17:52.0), T-M-B senior Matt Lavoy (17:52.6), MCW junior Chris Kahler (17:53.2), Worthington senior Anthony Luft (17:53.8), Fairmont senior Zac Ehlert (18:10.10) and MCW junior Dylan Brockman (18:19.5).

“It was nice to see Amanual have such a good day,” praised WHS head coach Ken Henkels of Fissiha’s performance. “His legs had been kind of tired and tight after some hard workouts last week, but an easy day (Wednesday) helped him recover and he sure ran well today, as did the rest of our guys. This was a good overall meet for us.”

Backing up the lead runs of Fissiha, Jirele and Luft were sophomore Tyler Van Hove (18th overall, 17th team scoring) with a time of 18:59.6 and junior Troy Feller (22, 21, 19:17.8).

Junior Jonah McDonald (28, 27, 19:31.0) and eighth-grader Jacob Prunty (35, 33, 19:44.8) also bettered the 20-minute mark, as seven Trojans accomplished that goal.

Adrian junior Taylor Recker just missed the individual trophies, finishing 11th with a time of 18:23.5, while MCC placed three runners — senior Andy Garza (12, 11, 18:24.7), sophomore Clayton Hartle (13, 12, 18:25.9) and sophomore Jack Erickson (15, 14, 18:47.9) — among the top 15.

JCC was led by senior Peter Nasby (19, 18, 19:01.6), SWU by freshman Logan Knutson (27, 26, 19:26.5), Windom by senior Clay Elness (30, 28, 19:35.8), MLA by freshman Tommy Kraemer (32, 30, 19:40.4) and SWC/E by senior Evan Blom (39, 19:50.9).

Fairmont (4-5-6-9-14) won the junior high boys’ meet with a low score of 38 points, followed by MCW (64), Worthington (98), MLA (112), PA (150), Windom (160), St. James (176), Adrian (178) and SWU (195). T-M-B and SWC/E were incomplete.

MCW’s Ramon Bowie won the individual race in impressive fashion, clocking a 1,600-meter time of 5:33.5.

Worthington’s Nathan Schuck was second (5:47.1), while MLA’s Reynaldo Capetillo (third, 5:51.0), Worthington’s Andrew Olsen (sixth, 5:55.8), SWU’s Brett Mueller (eighth, 5:57.8), MLA’s Emmanuel Fentanez (10, 5:58.7), Adrian’s Brady Henning (12, 6:04.0), PA’s Tristen Pals (16, 6:09.6), MLA’s Ryan Blomgren (17, 6:10.4) and MCC’s Jack Peterson (18, 6:11.3) were other area runners who placed in the top 20 among 87 finishers.