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PREP CROSS COUNTRY: Trojan boys, Dragon girls take second at Marshall CC Meet

MARSHALL --- Paced by the two-three finish of Jordin Kopplow and Nicole Slater, the Adrian Dragons came within an eyelash of winning the varsity girls' division of the 14-team Marshall Invitational Cross Country Meet at Independence Park Monday.

Kopplow covered the 4,000-meter course in a blazing time of 15 minutes and 54 seconds, finishing second behind Redwood Valley sophomore Kayla Huhnerkoch, who won the individual title (15:42). Slater finished third (16:06) and AHS teammates Megan Sauer (fifth, 16:15), Morgan Sauer (seventh, 16:31) and Jada Elias (33rd, 19:41) combined to tally 50 points --- which tied with host Marshall for the team title.

The Tigers, however, won the meet on the strength of the sixth-runner tiebreaker, as the Dragons did not run six girls in the varsity race.

Marshall's five scoring runners finished in places 4-10-11-12-13, while the Tigers' sixth runner entered the chute in 17th place.

Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI was third in the girls' team standings with 68 points, followed by Redwood Valley (93), Worthington (126), Murray County Central/Fulda (142) and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (154). The other seven teams were incomplete (without five finishing runners).

Worthington, as usual, was paced by the trio of Meredith Moore (15th, 17:14), Alicia Darling (16th, 17:14) and Stephanie Jaycox (19th, 17:23).

Ariana Lopez (44, 19:58) and Kacey Contreras (57, 21:44) completed the scoring for the Trojans, while Hope Reeves (59, 21:58) and Rachel Koller (62, 22:22) also ran on the varsity for WHS.

In the boys' meet, powerful Redwood Valley claimed the team championship with a low score of 43 (2-5-8-11-18), while Worthington was a solid second, only nine points behind with a score of 53 (4-6-10-14-19).

Marshall was a distant third with 81 points, followed by C/M/L (115), Windom (174), MCC/F (186), Yellow Medicine East (191), Springfield/Cedar Mountain (207), Willmar Community Christian School (224), Pipestone Area (225) and T-M-B (233). Adrian and Lakeview were both incomplete.

Worthington received an outstanding pack run from each one of its top seven, as Amanuel Fissiha led the Trojans with a fourth-place time of 17:12 over the 5,000-meter course, followed closely by Ethan Spittle (sixth, 17:14).

Matt Jirele was the third Trojan to make the top 10, as he clocked a 10th-place time of 17:38. Nathan Landweher (14, 17:50) and Anthony Luft (19, 18:03) completed Worthington's scoring, while Gordy Moore (21, 18:18) and Ian Stewart (23, 18:24) both had solid races as the Trojans' sixth and seventh runners, making WHS the first team to have seven runners in the chute.

Other area individuals to finish among the top 20 were Pipestone's Andrew Berg (13, 17:49), T-M-B's Matt Lavoy (15, 17:51) and Windom's Ryan Helmoski (17, 17:58).

Ben Burgett, a sophomore from WCCS, won the individual title with a time of 16:43.

Spittle leads Trojans in Sioux Falls Saturday

Worthington competed in the Nike Heartland Preview at the Yankton Trails Park in Sioux Falls, S.D. Saturday.

Spittle paced the Trojan boys in the meet, covering the 5,000-meter course in 17:49. Fissiha (sixth, 18:00) and Jirele (ninth, 18:13) were close behind, while Oliver Wolyniec (47, 20:56) and Troy Feller (50, 21:19) completed the team's scoring.

Moore and Darling (20th and 21st) were both timed at 17:08 in the girls' 4,000-meter race, while Lopez (42, 19:18), Koller (51, 20:44) and Reeves (59, 22:20) completed the scoring for Worthington.