Cross country: Luverne breezes to team titles at Gluf Classic
BY LES KNUTSON
LUVERNE -- A dominating performance by the Luverne girls, paced by the 1-2 finish of Tenley Nelson and Regan Feit, along with a well-balanced effort by the tightly-knit Cardinal boys, gave LHS a sweep of the team titles of the Bruce Gluf Classic high school cross country meet Saturday morning
The smooth-running Nelson took the lead early and stretched the distance between her and the rest of 47-finisher field as she clocked an exceptional time of 18:35.2 over the 5,000-meter distance on the challenging Luverne course where the Section 3A meet will be run in late October.
Feit was an impressive second with a fine time of 19:58.5, 35 seconds ahead of Anna Atwood (Beresford, S.D.) who won the battle for third place. (20:33.5).
Luverne runners Brooklyn VerSteeg (fourth, 20:36.8), Tiana Lais (seventh, 21:41.8) and Elizabeth Wagner (eighth, 21:44.0) combined with Nelson and Feit to produce a spectacular winning team score of 22 points (1-2-4-7-8).
Beresford was second in the girls’ team standings with 54 points (3-6-10-14-21) as the Watchdogs placed a trio of finishers among the top 10 individuals.
Martin County West, paced by the fifth-place performance of Marissa Whitehead (20:51.2), was third with 91 points, followed by Southwest Christian / Edgerton (107), Dell Rapids, S.D. (114), West Lyon, Iowa (136) and Mountain Lake Area (160) among the complete teams.
Ella Veldkamp (11th, 22:15.4) paced the fourth-place Eagles, who were missing their top runner, Mikayla Johnson, due to an illness.
Beresford’s Alec Atwood pulled away from the 68-finisher varsity boys’ field with a winning time of 16:25.5, while MLA’s Dalton Piotter claimed second with his time of 17:01.5 as he fought off the challenges of MCW’s Kolton Larson (17:12.2) and Carson Kahler (17:13.8) with a strong finish over the last 1,000 meters.
Impressively moving up into fifth place as the race progressed was Luverne’s Dalton DeSollar (17:25.7), who was followed by teammates Brayden Tofteland (seventh, 17:34.2), Shane Berning (ninth, 17:58.5), Austin Winter (12th, 18:11.4) and Jonah Friedrichsen (16th, 18:26.2), who finished 14th in the team scoring. The top five Cardinals (5-7-9-12-14) combined for a winning team score of 47, topping Beresford (54) by seven points and MCW (55) by eight.
The Watchdogs top five finished in team places 1-6-10-15-22, while the Mavericks were 3-4-13-17-18.
MLA, led by Piotter and Ryan Blomgren (11th, 18:10.1), were a solid fourth with 89 points, while five others -- Dell Rapids (160), Hendricks / Estelline (176), Jackson County Central (179), SWC / E (180) and Heron Lake-Okabena (181) -- finished very close to each other among the complete teams.
Denver Decker (29th, 19:34.2) paced the Eagles, while Clay Cranston (30th, 19:35.7) was the lead runner for the Huskies and Paul Salentiny (32nd, 19:43.4) was HL-O’s first runner to enter the chute.
Luverne’s MaKena Nelson (17:17.0) and Jenna DeBates (17:29.2) were the first two finishers in the 4,000-meter girls’ junior varsity race, while Cardinal DJ Swenson (15:25.8) won the boys’ JV race over the same course. Ellsworth’s Robby Armstrong (15:50.2) placed fourth among the field of 61 finishers.
Running up front in the 3,200-meter girls’ junior high race, the SWC / E trio of Alexia Vander Pol (second, 15:18.3), Ana Veldkamp (fifth, 15:30.6) and Elizabeth Eisma (sixth, 15:31.4) led the Eagles to the team title (26 points).
MLA seventh-graders Sam Pidde (second, 12:13.4) and Kody Wassman (third, 12:38.7) each moved up progressively and finished near the front of the 39-finisher boys’ junior high race over the same course.