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PREP CROSS COUNTRY BOYS': WHS boys win at Adrian

BRIAN KORTHALS/DAILY GLOBE Trojan Matt Jirele sprints to the finish line at the Adrian CC Invitational Tuesday in Adrian.

ADRIAN -- As they have been doing all season, the Worthington Trojans utilized exceptional depth and balance to win a high school cross country meet Tuesday.

Only this time, the meet was the huge 22-team Dragon Invitational on the wind-swept Adrian Golf Course and the competition was keen -- to say the least.

But, the Trojans came out to top with scoring places 3-5-8-14-28, tallying a low score of 58 points -- six better than second-place Marshall (64) and 18 ahead of perennial South Dakota power Sioux Falls Washington (76).

The Tigers top five finished 2-10-12-17-23, while the Warriors scored on places 7-9-11-20-29.

"Winning this meet is an accomplishment and gives us a boost as we prepare for next week's Southwest Conference meet," declared Worthington head coach Ken Henkels, who has been pleased with the overall improvement of his team throughout the 2012 campaign. "We finished fourth in this meet last year with 113 points and had the individual winner (Mubarik Musa). So, winning here this year is really huge for our team, which continues to show its balance through all seven runners."

Leading the Trojans Tuesday was freshman Amanual Fissiha who placed third in the large field of 114 finishing runners with a time of 17 minutes and 2.6 seconds over the challenging 5,000-meter course, which includes lots of hills.

First-year senior teammate Ethan Spittle was close behind, entering the chute fifth with a time of 17:15.9, while sophomore Matthew Jirele ran the best race of his already stellar career when he held off several challenging runners during his final "kick" and claimed an impressive eighth-place finish, clocked at 17:26.5.

"Man, did he run well," praised Henkels about Jirele's performance. "Matt always works so hard throughout the race that he doesn't always have a lot left at the end. But he sure put the "hammer down" today and held off a couple of guys who were coming after him fast. It was a great finishing effort by Matthew."

While Fissiha, Spittle and Jirele gave the Trojans three finishers in the top eight, WHS also needed strong runs from its fourth and fifth runners to win the team title.

First-year junior Anthony Luft (17:41.5) placed 14th and senior veteran Nathan Landwehr (18:15.4) finished 28th, clinching the closely-contested meet title for the Trojans, who have now won five meets in a row.

Seniors Gordy Moore (35th, 18:29.4) and Ian Stewart (45th, 18:39.6) also ran the course well under 19 minutes, each finishing among the top 40 percent of the entire field.

The combination of Canby, Minneota and Lincoln HI, paced by individual winner Nick Stoks (16:27.2), was a distance fourth in the team standings with 123 points, while Luverne -- with senior Josh Friedrichsen's fourth-place (17:09.4) finish leading the way -- placed a close fifth with 127.

Montevideo finished sixth with 149 points, followed by Sioux Falls Roosevelt (168), Yellow Medicine East (267), Jackson County Central (278), Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd (307), Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (325) MACCRAY/Renville County West (327), Pipestone Area (328), Mountain Lake Area (343), Windom (350), Murray County Central/Fulda (374) and Springfield/Cedar Mountain (381), all of whom had complete team scores.

Suda, Hess, Weis, Lavoy, Blomgren all finish among Top 25

Pipestone Area seventh-grader Michael Suda finished an impressive 16th, clocked at 17:46.7, while Luverne junior Cody Hess (18th, 17:50.8) also ran the course in less than 18 minutes.

Luverne sophomore Drew Weis (21st, 18:02.1), T-M-B junior Matt Lavoy (24th, 18:08.3) and MLA senior Kyle Blomgren (25th, 18:10.8) gave the local area 10 of the top-25 varsity finishers Tuesday.

Woll, Wolyniec, Waldner lead WHS Jayvee runners

Sioux Falls Washington (19) Montevideo (69) and Sioux Falls Roosevelt (81) dominated the 4,000-meter boys' junior varsity race, while Worthington finished fourth with 111 points.

Leading the Trojans were senior Jacob Woll (16th, 15:13), sophomore Oliver Wolyniec (19th, 15:21) and senior Logan Waldner (23rd, 15:30), while sophomores Troy Feller (27th, 15:37) and Sam Talsma (29th, 15:43) were close behind, completing the well-balanced Trojan scoring.

A total of 93 runners completed the JV race.

Winter leads area junior high runners

In the 75-runner boys' junior high race, covering a 2,100-meter course, Pipestone Area's Emerson Winter finished second (7:49.2) behind the winning run of Marshall's Mason Reese (7:44.5).

Six other runners from the area placed among the top 11 as MLA's Reynaldo Capetillo (7:52.9), Southwestern United's Logan Knutson (7:54.6), Worthington's Jacob Prunty (8:03.7), Luverne's Alex Kramer (8:16.3), PA's Hunter Burnett (8:18.9) and Southwest Christian's Cade Den Herder (8:27.7) finished third, fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth and 11th, respectively.

Marshall won the team title with a low score of 36 points, while PA (71), MLA (86), Worthington (111), Windom (115), SWU (130) and MACCRAY (172) also fielded complete junior high teams.