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TROJAN CROSS COUNTRY: Fissiha qualifies for AA state CC meet

BUFFALO -- Worthington freshman Amanual Fissiha put the capper on an outstanding cross country season by qualifying for this year's Class AA state meet Friday.

Running on the Buffalo Height Golf Course, which included -- what WHS head coach Ken Henkels described as "probably the longest hill we've run all year --and we had to go up it twice," Fissiha placed 14th in the field of 105 finishing runners from 15 schools with a 5,000-meter time of 17:01.6.

Fissiha was final individual qualifier (eighth from runners other than the two qualifying teams), while senior teammate Ethan Spittle --who was closing hard with his sprint finish --just missed, placing 15th a mere tenth of a second behind, clocked at 17:01.7.

"Great races by both guys," summed up Henkels. "To run that course in nearly 17 flat is something. It's quite an accomplishment for Amanual to advance as a freshman and it's too bad that Ethan didn't make it because he was so close."

Paced by the runs of Fissiha and Spittle, the Trojans finished ninth in the final boys' team standings with 210 points -- just eight behind Marshall.

Orono topped Chaska, 71-83, for the team title, while Buffalo was third with 96 points.

Matt Jirele (47, 17:47), Anthony Luft (50, 17:51) and Gordy Moore (84, 18:58) completed the scoring for the Trojans, while Ian Stewart (19:06) and Oliver Wolyniec (20:44) also ran for Worthington.

Chaska sophomore Joey Duerr won the individual race with a sparling time of 16:06.2.

Darling, Moore run 16:20 lead Trojan girls

As they have done all season, sophomore Alicia Darling and freshmen Meredith Moore paced the Worthington girls, running identical times of 16:20.3 over the 4,000-meter course and placing 37th and 38th, respectively among a field of 103 finishers.

Stephanie Jaycox (17:09) was the third finisher for WHS, while Jessica Darling (17:56), Ariana Lopez (18:35), Kacey Contreras (18:43) and Rachel Koller (18:44) also ran for the Trojans, who finished 14th as a team with 338 points.

"We had four guys run 5,000 meters under 18 minutes and all seven girls broke 19 for 4,000," summed up Henkels. "We had great times and competed very well."

Chanhassen won the girls' team title with a low score of 46, while Chaska was second with 68 points.

Shakopee, led by the 1-2 individual finish of Maria Hauger (13:39) and Tess Misgen (13:43), placed third in the team standings with 83 points, followed by Marshall (fourth, 93).

Fissiha will run at St. Olaf College in Northfield at 1 p.m. Nov. 3.