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Kopplow leads Dragons to RRC girls' team title

Adrian's Megan Sauer (left) and Mountain Lake Area's Whitney Klassen duel Monday afternoon during the Red Rock Conference varsity girls' team cross country meet in Slayton.

SLAYTON -- With senior Jordin Kopplow breezing to an impressive individual title and teammates Nicole Slater, Megan Sauer and Morgan Sauer also racing to top-five finishes, the Adrian Dragons won their eighth consecutive Red Rock Conference varsity girls' team championship Monday on a nice autumn afternoon at the Slayton Golf Course.

The winning Dragons tallied a low score of 28 points on team places 1-2-4-5-16, good enough for a 10-point victory over runner-up Mountain Lake Area -- which was paced by the third-place individual performance of Whitney Klassen.

The well-balanced Wolverines (3-7-8-9-11) scored 38 points, while the combination of Murray County Central and Fulda had a score of 62 (6-10-12-15-19) and took third in the team standings.

Hills-Beaver Creek and Southwest Christian were each incomplete, while Southwestern United did not run anyone in the varsity girls' race.

Kopplow's winning time over the very challenging 4,000-meter course was a brisk 15 minutes and 35 seconds -- 47 seconds ahead of Slater's second-place time of 16:22.

"We wanted to get our first four runners among the top five in the team scoring and we did that," exclaimed Kopplow, who as usual was more pleased about Adrian's team victory than her own individual accomplishment. "It was a nice day for running and I was able to open up a lead early and extend it, as I was feeling good the whole way."

Slater and Klassen had a strong duel for second, with Klassen holding the position much of the race. But, Slater had the stronger finish and entered the chute three seconds before Klassen (16:25), who was an individual state-meet qualifier last season.

Megan Sauer finished a solid fourth (16:44), while Morgan (17:00) moved into fifth-place late in the race, passing H-BC's Jenna Wilgenburg, who ran a fine race and placed sixth (17:13) just holding off MCC/F's Melisssa Gehl (17:14), who led the Rebels with a seventh-place finish.

Completing the list of individual all-conference runners (top 10) were the MLA trio of Brianna Soutthivong (17:15), Lydia Hildebrandt (17:19) and Liana Blomgren (17:20).

Seventh-grader Anna Serrao clinched Adrian's team championship when she entered the chute in 18th place overall (16th team) with a time of 18:55.

A total of 29 runners finished the combined varsity-junior varsity race.

Salentiny leads 1-2-3

junior high sweep

for SWU Wildcats

Southwestern United, paced by the 1-2-3 finish of Rachel Salentiny (6:50), MaKayla Edwards (7:07) and Brianna Preston (7:19), won the 1,800-meter girls' junior high race, putting six runners among the top nine.

The Wildcats (1-2-3-7-8) won the team title in convincing fashion with 21 points, followed by Southwest Christian (36) and Mountain Lake Area (70).

Leading SWC were Carli Vander Top (7:25), Elise Ver Hey (7:27) and Emily Nerem (7:31) in finish places 4-5-6, while SWU runners Cheyenne Schaffer (7:42), Tessla Crowell (7:51) and Alyssa Post (7:53), along with Adrian's Courtney Penning (7:54) completed the top-10 among a total of 23 finishers.